At the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, Volvo Cars will unveil the world's first diesel plug-in hybrid– a virtually production-ready Volvo V60 with carbon dioxide emissions below 50g/km.
The Plug-in Hybrid, which will be launched in 2012, is the result of close co-operation between Volvo Cars and Swedish energy supplier Vattenfall.
The concept of a plug-in diesel hybrid gives the driver the best of what an electric and diesel car can offer: very low fuel consumption and CO2 levels, combined with long range and high performance.
By simply pressing a button, the car gives the driver the option of how they want to drive: As an electric car with a range of up to 32 miles; a high-efficiency hybrid with carbon dioxide emissions averaging just 49g/km; or a car with a combined output of 215 + 70hp, 325 + 145 lb-ft of torque and acceleration from 0-62mph in just 6.9 seconds.
The front wheels of the V60 Plug-in Hybrid will be driven by a five-cylinder 2.4-liter D5 turbo-diesel, which produces 215hp and maximum torque of 325 lb-ft.
The rear axle features ERAD (Electric Rear Axle Drive) in the form of an electric motor producing 70hp, which receives its power from a 12 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The car features a six-speed automatic transmission.
The driver chooses the preferred driving mode via three buttons on the instrument panel: Pure, Hybrid and Power. The interaction between diesel and electric power is handled by a control system.
In Pure the car runs only on its electric motor as much as possible. The driving range is up to 32 miles with zero emissions of carbon dioxide. Battery range varies with terrain, climate and driving style.
Hybrid is the default mode whenever the car is started. The diesel engine and electric motor interact to provide the optimal balance between driving pleasure and low environmental impact. CO2 emissions are 49g/km (EU Combined), corresponding to diesel fuel consumption of 125mpg US. The car's total range is up to 746 miles.
In Power mode, the technology is optimized to give the car the best possible performance. The diesel engine and electric motor have a combined power output of 215 + 70 horsepower and maximum torque of 325 + 145 lb-ft.
The majority of drivers cover less than 32 miles a day to and from work, for instance. On longer trips, the diesel engine is activated automatically, giving the car the same properties and range as a conventional hybrid.
The cost of the battery pack means the plug-in hybrid will be more expensive to buy than a conventional Volvo V60. Pricing will be announced nearer the 2012 launch date. On the other hand, fuel costs are expected to be one-third of a conventional combustion-engined V60.
The plug-in hybrid can be charged via a regular household electricity socket at home or elsewhere. Charging time is about five hours if the car is recharged at home.
In addition to its three driving modes, the V60 Plug-in Hybrid features a number of other possibilities and benefits:
The driver can choose to save battery capacity in order to be sure of driving on clean electricity later after entering a city, for instance. In order to maintain sufficient battery charge, the car can be powered by its diesel engine.
Pushing the AWD button in the centre stack activates electric four-wheel drive. Instead of the mechanical power transmission of the conventional AWD system, the central control unit manages torque distribution to the diesel-driven front wheels and the electric-powered rear axle.
Using the car setup menu, the driver can key in the planned route's distance (short, medium or long). The control system calculates the balance between diesel and electric power to obtain the lowest possible CO2 emissions for the given distance.
The Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid is recharged via a regular power socket (230V/6A, 10A or 16A). The charging time depends on the level of the current. A full 10A charge takes 4.5 hours. The time is shortened to 3 hours with 16A, while a charge in a 6A socket takes 7.5 hours.
The driver has the possibility to preheat or cool the passenger compartment during the recharging process. This means that more battery capacity can be used for powering the car. This pre-conditioning is programmed via a timer in the car's setup menu or remotely via a mobile phone.
Via the mobile app, it also gives the owner access to a number of smart features, such as a reminder to plug in the charging cable if this hasn't been done at a certain pre-set time.
The instrument panel in the Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid has been modified to give the driver a full range of important information about diesel and electricity consumption, battery charge level and remaining range.
On the outside, the car has several additional features such as lightweight, low drag wheels and low rolling resistance Pirelli tires.
Volvo is conducting a thorough analysis of a variety of safety scenarios for electric cars, including virtual and real-life tests in Volvo's crash-test center. Through advanced automatic monitoring of battery status and by encapsulating the battery and protecting it in a collision, the result is a world-class safety level.