Volvo to offer V60 plug-in diesel hybrid at €57,000 in Europe, CEO says

Article by Anita Panait, on January 11, 2012

Volvo Car Corp. will start selling V60 plug-in diesel hybrid in autumn at a tag price of EUR57,000, CEO Stephen Jacoby told Automotive News Europe. The company will initially produce 1,000 V60 units this year and plans to increase production next year to offer variants at a price closer to EUR50,000, which is the current price of the diesel V60.

"The V60 plug-in hybrid won't be just a technology showcase, but also our halo model in Europe," Jacoby said, adding that the car would be profitable from the first day of sales.

V60 plug-in diesel has an all-electric of 50 km and fuel economy of 1.9-liters per 100km. The V60 plug-in diesel offers low fuel consumption as it can tap into electricity stored in batteries.

Volvo is planning to introduce V60 plug-in gasoline hybrid in North America and China that will start selling by 2014 in the U.S.

The gasoline hybrid may also be sold in Europe. Volvo’s CEO remarked that the powertrain of V60 plug-in gasoline hybrid could also be used in either the XC60 crossover or S60 sedan. Volvo, meanwhile, launched its XC60 Plug-in Hybrid Concept on January 9 at the Detroit auto show.

XC60 plug-in has an all-electric range of 57km and guzzles 2.4 liters of gasoline per 100km in hybrid mode. Its powertrain includes a 70-hp electric motor and a 280-hp, four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engine.

Drivers could recharge their Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid from a place where there is an available regular power outlet (230V), with the recharging time varying with amperage.

Recharging at outlets with amperage of 6A and 10A takes 7.5 hours and 4.5 hours, respectively. When a 16A outlet is used, recharging takes 3.5 hours. Amazingly, V60 Plug-in Hybrid – through the pre-conditioning function -- allows drivers to warm or cool the cabin while recharging, which means that the vehicle consumes more battery power for propulsion.

In addition, this pre-conditioning function can help cool the batteries to reach an operating temperature of between 20 degrees and 30 degrees Celsius. Thus it is recommended to cool the car before driving to maximize battery charge and range. Volvo provided the new V60 Plug-in Hybrid with two heating systems: diesel-powered heater and a PTC (Positive Temperature Coefficient) air heater that is employed during electric mode.

One technological wonder of the V60 Plug-in Hybrid is its capability to implement an electrical four-wheel drive with just a simple push of the AWD button. With this function, the central control unit allocates power between the diesel engine-operated front wheels and the electrically driven rear axle. This system allows for a greater grip during starting and when traversing slippery roads.

But since the electric motor has less power, the amount of torque distributed to the rear wheels is limited and the four-wheel drive is only operational up to speeds of 120 km/h. Once the four-wheel drive system is activated, the diesel engine remains in operation with the generator ensuring that the battery pack has enough energy to supply the rear axle with the needed power.

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