2012 Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid unveiled at the 2011 Geneva Auto Show

Article by Christian Andrei, on March 1, 2011

The all-new 2012 Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid made its official debut today at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. The Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid features a special white paint that Dupont supplied. Its interior features several unique details and colors compared with a standard V60. An example is the leather upholstery from Elmo.

On the exterior, the model has been fitted with added features that show off its CO2-lean profile, such as lightweight wheels with exceptionally low air drag and Pirelli tires designed for low rolling resistance.

Volvo also modified the instrument panel in the Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid to give the driver a full range of vital information about diesel and electricity consumption, battery charge level, remaining range, etc.

Volvo claims that the work on the V60 Plug-in Hybrid goes in parallel with development of the Volvo C30 Electric, which runs purely on electricity.

Stefan Jacoby, President and CEO of Volvo Cars, said that the two car types complement each other. He said that with a plug-in hybrid, the driver is totally independent of recharging stations when driving long distances. He also said that the future electric-car market will feature a mixture of both all-electric cars and plug-in hybrids.

The Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid is the first model from the brand to have the D6 badge which can be seen on its tailgate. The motivation behind the naming of this badge is that it combines an electric motor with the performance of a turbodiesel 5-cylinder engine. This puts the vehicle in the same horsepower range as the T6 petrol engine. Specifically, the engine is a 2.4-liter turbodiesel 5-cylinder engine, which can deliver 215 hp output with peak torque at 440 Nm and which powers the front wheels.

Paired to this engine is the six-speed automatic transmission. The rear wheels meanwhile are powered by an electric motor which can provide output at 70 hp. Supplying power to this electric motor is the 11.2 kWh lithium-ion battery pack that has been fitted underneath the load compartment’s floor. With 10 modules and each modules having 20 cells, this battery pack is both compact and sophisticated.

The charge level and temperature in each of its 200 cells are monitored and compared by using an integrated computer. This battery pack though also has a water-cooling system integrated to it and is powered by the vehicle’s climate unit. The V60 Plug-in Hybrid offers three driving modes, Pure, Hybrid or Power, all of which can be activated with the press of a button. Under the Pure mode, the vehicle uses only the electric motor.

Maximum range is 50 kilometers and assuming that it was fully charged using electricity source from renewable energy, then CO2 emissions are zero. It needs to be said though that the range under this mode would ultimately be dependent on a number of factors like driving style, terrain, and climate. Hybrid mode is the vehicle’s default setting. Here, the diesel engine and the electric motor work together in order to optimize the balance between driving pleasure and ecological footprint.

CO2 emissions are measured at 49 g/km (NEDC, mixed driving cycle for certification), with fuel consumption at 1.91/100 km. Total range under Hybrid mode is 1,000 km. When Power mode is activated, the technology is optimized in order to make sure that the vehicle gets the maximum power there is. With an output of 215 hp for the diesel engine and 70 hp for the electric motor, total output is indeed amazing. Torque meanwhile is 440 Nm from the diesel engine with 200 Nm added from the electric motor.

With the lightning-quick way that the torque is delivered, the V60 Plug-in Hybrid achieves a 0 to 100 km/h acceleration in merely 6.2 seconds. When the driver expects to be in the middle of the city or in an urban green zone, power may be saved on the battery to ensure that it can drive on pure electricity later. This is known as Save and when activated, the system inside makes sure that the battery always has enough charge in order for Pure mode to be activated at a later time.

When needed, it possible for the high-tension generator to charge the battery pack to make sure there is enough power to run under Pure mode. The goal of Save mode is for the battery power to at least allow the vehicle to cover 20 km when running solely on electricity. Recharging the V60 Plug-in Hybrid is easy as it can be done using a standard power outlet like a 230V/6A unit, though 10A or 16A is also possible.

This means it can be recharged at home or even at the parking lot. The length of recharging would depend on the amperage. Under a 10A outlet, total time for full charge is 4.5 hours while the 16A takes 3.5 hours, and the 6A would need 7.5 hours. Even when recharging, the vehicle can still cool or heat the passenger compartment, ensuring a more comfortable trip. It also means that there will be more power from the battery that can move the car.

This pre-conditioning function is also able to help cool the batteries. For the battery pack, the ideal operating temperature is at 20-30°C. It is therefore important to remember that cooling should be done before starting a drive in order to maximize both the battery charge and the range. Overall, there are two heating systems offered in the V60 Plug-in Hybrid. There is a diesel-powered heater and even when using the electric mode, there is a Positive Temperature Coefficient air heater.

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