2012 Detroit Auto Show: Volvo XC60 Plug-in Hybrid Concept is a silent SUV

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 10, 2012

Volvo launched at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show the XC60 Plug-in Hybrid Concept, a gasoline plug-in hybrid crossover concept, which uses technology that will later be seen on vehicles meant for the markets in the U.S. and China. In hybrid mode, the XC60 Plug-in Hybrid Concept can go 600 miles while on the electric motor, it could go as far as 35 miles. Volvo said that it has a combined fuel economy of more than 50 mpg.

The hybrid crossover is fitted with a 280hp turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine and a 70hp electric motor. The concept has a T8 badge since the combined 350hp of the hybrid is equivalent to that of an eight-cylinder engine. The new four-cylinder gasoline powerplant is included in the new Volvo Environmental Architecture (VEA) engine lineup. Volvo said that a gasoline hybrid will start selling in the U.S.

However, it hasn’t given a detailed timetable yet. Stefan Jacoby, CEO of Volvo Car Corp., said through a statement that Volvo XC60 crossover uses the new gasoline hybrid powerplant but it’s still too early to say on which model this “solution” will be used on. The electric motor is located in the rear axle and it uses a lithium ion battery pack that is placed under the floor.

Volvo said that recharging from a 220-volt outlet takes 3.5 hours. When the 110-volt outlet (standard in U.S. homes) is used, it takes 7.5 hours. The new gasoline engine is partnered with a new eight-speed automatic transmission. The diesel-electric V60 Plug-in Hybrid, which is Volvo's first production hybrid, will start selling in Europe in 2012.

Volvo’s XC60 Plug-in Hybrid Concept allows you to connect to the car by using a mobile phone application. This app will give you convenient access to a varied range of data, including the battery charge level, the remaining range of the battery, and the location and the capacity of the nearest accessible recharging station. The app also makes it possible for you to verify whether the charger cable is effectively hooked up, as well as to pre-program the interior climate of the car.

Aside from this, the car features instruments that were tailored to give you all the necessary information pertaining to electricity and petrol consumption, and also the battery status and the remaining range of distance you can go with your current battery charge level.

Volvo CEO Stefan Jacoby says that coming up with an intuitive environment that gives drivers access to useful and updated information is a very important part of the company’s product development. This should include being kept as updated when your car is parked as when you are behind the wheel.

The XC60 Plug-in Hybrid Concept comes in a special white finish, with 21-inch wheels that enhance the car’s muscular look. The car’s interior features impressive detailing and sleek colors like sober dark-blue leather upholstery with inlays of blue-grey wood.

XC60 Plug-in Hybrid Concept’s electric four-wheel drive is activated by simply pressing the All-Wheel Drive or AWD button. And instead of the mechanical power transfer that comes with the conventional four-wheel drive, it is the central control unit that distributes power between the car’s electrically driven rear axle and gasoline-driven front wheels. The car’s electric four-wheel drive has been designed to give the car better traction upon starting and when it is driving on slippery roads, such as when it is snowing or when it is muddy.

You can opt to save your car’s battery power for later so you can then drive on pure electricity. When you activate “Save,” the generator charges and then tops up the battery pack as necessary. This is to ensure that you have sufficient battery power for 12 miles of electric driving.

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