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We’ve already been given the scoop on Volvo‘s upcoming V60 Plug-in Hybrid, however, given the nature of that vehicle, it was hardly surprising that Europe was most definitely its target audience.
Considering that North American (and Chinese) buyers clearly have a strong preference for gasoline engined vehicles over diesels, as well as SUVs over wagons, Volvo has now announced that it will build an XC60 Plug-in Hybrid with a petrol engine for these markets, which will make its world debut at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit .
The news is particularly welcomed by US dealers, providing a much needed boost in the shape of a green “halo” vehicle, at a time when much of Volvo’s vehicle lineup is essentially marking time and (apart from volume sellers like the XC60 and S60) significantly new models are still a ways off.
The XC60 gas/electric Plug-in Hybrid will sport an electric motor producing 70 hp, along with a four-cylinder gasoline engine, resulting in a total power output of 350 hp. According to Volvo, this version will be able to travel a distance of up to 35 miles on electricity alone as well as delivering some 50 miles per gallon in Hybrid mode.
It also uses an innovative electric AWD system, with the gasoline engine powering the front wheels, while electric power can be fed to the rear wheels when accelerating or in low grip situations.
“A plug-in hybrid is the ideal eco-car for today’s conditions,” declared Volvo President and CEO Stefan Jacoby. “It gives a large proportion of motorists sufficient range on electricity for their daily commute. More than half of U.S. drivers cover less than 30 miles a day. With its three driving modes, the XC60 Plug-in Hybrid Concept also offers the owner a conventional model’s interior space, safety, performance and long range. It gives the driver uncompromising flexibility to cover every type of motoring need.”
Although deliveries of the European diesel/electric V60 Plug-In Hybrid are scheduled to begin late this year, so far there’s been no word on US availability of the XC60 Plug-In Hybrid, though it’s likely cars will be on dealer lots sometime during 2013.
GALLERY: Volvo XC60 Plug-in Hybrid
Canadians are more likely to go electric when buying a new car compared to Americans, says research from a new study.
Conducted by Synovate, a global market research firm, the company polled 1,800 new car buyers in the U.S. and 800 new car buyers in Canada. The study dealt with current petroleum based power-trains (internal combustion, diesel, flex-fuel, natural gas) and electric power trains (hybrids, plug-in hybrids, battery and fuel cell).
In the study, Synovate asked respondents about what type of engine they would like in their future vehicle. They found that Americans had a stronger preference for internal combustion engines (61 percent) than Canadians (53 percent). When it came to a hybrid engine, the neighbors tied with 64 percent stating their preference.
But when it came to other electric technologies such as plug-in hybrids, Canadian respondents came out with a stronger preference (34 percent) than Americans (27 percent). The results were similar when it came to pure battery electric vehicles as well (29 percent Canadians versus 24 percent Americans).
According to Stephen Popiel, senior vice president of Synovate Motoresearch, “Canadians clearly want “greener”, more environmentally friendly vehicles. We seem to be more driven than Americans on reducing emissions while they are more concerned about fuel costs.” Reaffirming their green ways, Canadian respondents were more likely to be looking for ways to reduce their CO2 levels (28 percent) than American respondents (23 percent). The American respondents were more likely to be looking for ways to minimize fuel costs (64 percent Americans versus 58 percent Canadians).
On the subject of Flex Fuel, Canadian respondents did not see E85, the blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, as an option. The Canadians surveyed were much less familiar with E85 (16 percent familiarity in Canada versus 26 percent in the USA) and have a weaker preference for E85 (21 percent in Canada versus 31 percent in the US).