It caused quite a stir back at the Geneva Auto Show in March, now Volvo is in the process of causing another one, having announced that the production version of its V60 Plug-in Hybrid wagon is heading to dealers next year as a 2013 model, albeit in the fourth quarter.
The V6o Plug-in Hybrid uses a 2.4-liter five-cylinder turbo diesel and a six-speed transaxle to power the front wheels, while the rears are turned via an electric motor that makes the equivalent of 70 hp. The electric motor receives its power from a 11.2 kilowatt per hour lithium-ion battery pack located underneath the floor of the car.
The V6 Plug-in Hybrid can operate in three different modes; Pure (electric), Hybrid, and Power (diesel only). In Pure mode, provided the battery is charged, the V60 Plug-in Hybrid can deliver a range of up to 32 miles on electric power alone.
In Hybrid form, both the electric powertrain and diesel engine are engaged, which happens automatically on vehicle startup. In this mode, the two power sources collectively aim to provide an ideal balance between low emissions, fuel economy and power when needed.
In Power Mode, where the turbo diesel engine is exclusively engaged, the V60 Plug-in Hybrid can accelerate from 0-62 mph in around 6.2 seconds, aided by 215 hp and some 324 lb-ft of torque.
As a Plug-in vehicle, the V60 PIH can be charged using a 230-volt outlet on 6, 10, 16 amp current cycles, though Volvo says a full charge using a 10 amp cycle takes approximately 4.5 hours (an hour less with 16A).
Other interesting features on the V60 Plug-in Hybrid include an electrically activated on-demand all-wheel drive system, that uses a central control unit to transmit power between the diesel driven front tires and the electric rears when needed (the electric motor also tops up the battery pack in AWD mode to ensure there’s adequate energy supply for the rear wheels); plus a two-stage braking system with regenerative action on the rear anchors that serve as the primary brakes (the hydraulically activated fronts are only engaged when additional braking force is required).
In addition, there’s also both electric and diesel engine operated heating systems, a further nod to maximizing overall vehicle efficiency in cold weather.
Volvo says it plans to build just 1,000 V6 Plug-in Hybrids next year, all will be aimed exclusively at European customers and all of them will be finished in just one exterior color; Electric Silver.
Other standard features include 17-inch alloy wheels, gloss black accents and small, discreet “Plug-in Hybrid” logos on the front fenders and rear liftgate. Volvo says it expects around 80 percent of sales to be company car orders, while 30 percent of total production will be targeted to Nordic customers (Sweden, Norway and Finland). Once the initial batch of 1,000 cars has been sold, Volvo says it plans to up production for the 2014 model year, to around 4,500 plus units. Given that the projected price (in the UK at least) is close to $80,000 ( minus government subsidies) it will be interesting to see if Volvo meets its sales targets with the vehicle.
At present, there’s been no word of offering a V60 Plug-in Hybrid in North America and given our market’s preference for gasoline engines, as well as ultra-strict diesel emissions requirements, if one does eventually materialize it will likely be different to the version offered in Europe.