13.12.2011 Volvo V60 to be first diesel plug-in hybrid
The Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid is the world's first diesel plug-in hybrid and is Volvo's most technically advanced model ever – an electric, hybrid and performance car all rolled into one.
The indicative price of the V60 is starting at between £45,000 and £50,000 in the UK, minus the Government's Plug-in car grant that it will qualify for on launch.
Sales get under way at the start of 2012 with a limited model year production run of 1,000 cars starting in November 2012. They will be offered with Pure Limited specification, which includes the highest SE Lux trim level.
After the initial batch of 1,000 cars for model year 2013, production of the V60 Plug-in Hybrid will increase to 4,000-6,000 cars as of model year 2014. About 30% of total volume will go to Sweden and the other Nordic countries. Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, France, the Netherlands and the UK will have a share of between 5 and 15% each. Volvo Car Corporation expects that 80% of total sales will be in the form of company cars.
The driver selects the required driving mode via three buttons that give the car three entirely different temperaments: Pure, Hybrid or Power.
In 'Pure' mode the car is powered solely by its electric motor as much as possible. If the battery pack has been recharged with electricity from renewable sources, its range is up to 32 miles with no carbon dioxide emissions from the tailpipe. The electric range varies with terrain, climate and driving style.
'Hybrid' mode is the standard setting whenever the car is started. The diesel engine and electric motor cooperate to ensure optimal balance between driving pleasure and environmental footprint. CO2 emission is just 49 g/km (on the NEDC combined test cycle) and it has a total range of up to 621 miles.
In 'Power' mode the technology is optimised to give the car the maximum possible power. The diesel engine and electric motor have a total power output of 215+70 hp and maximum torque of 440+200 Nm. The electric motor's lightning-quick torque delivery contributes to the car's acceleration from 0 to 62 mph in 6.2 seconds.
The driver can choose to save battery power in order to drive on pure electricity later on, for instance in an urban green zone or in the heart of a city. When 'Save' is activated, the on-board system ensures that there is always sufficient charge for 12.5 miles of electric car driving in 'Pure' mode.
The V60 Plug-in Hybrid can be recharged from a regular power outlet at home or in a car park, with recharging times varying with amperage. A full charge with 10A takes 4.5 hours, which is cut to 3.5 hours with 16A.
The V60 Plug-in Hybrid also offers four wheel drive capability, limited to speeds of up to 75 mph. Pressing the AWD button activates the electrical four-wheel drive; a central control unit distributes power between the diesel-driven front wheels and the electrically-driven rear axle. The electric four-wheel drive system has been designed to provide better grip when starting and when driving on slippery roads, for instance in snow or mud.
A two-stage braking system is another smart feature of the Volvo Plug-in Hybrid car. When the driver presses the brake pedal, the system starts braking the rear axle's electric motor. This braking energy is then used to recharge the car's battery pack. The mechanical brakes are activated only when the situation requires more braking power than the rear axle can provide.
On the car's tailgate there is a D6 badge. The reason is that the combined performance of the five-cylinder turbo diesel and electric motor puts the car firmly within the same horsepower range as the petrol powered T6.
The front wheels of the V60 Plug-in Hybrid are powered by a five-cylinder 2.4-litre turbo diesel producing 215 hp and maximum torque is 440 Nm. The rear axle is powered by an electric motor producing 70 hp, supplied with power from an 11.2 kWh lithium-ion battery pack installed under the floor of the load compartment.
The sophisticated and exceptionally compact battery pack consists of 10 modules each containing 20 cells. An integrated computer monitors the system and compares temperature and charge level in each of the 200 cells. The battery pack also has an integrated water-cooling system driven by the car's climate unit.
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