Volvo announced today that it will unveil the V60 Plug-in Hybrid, in March at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. It will be a production-ready car with carbon dioxide emissions below 50 g/km, which means a fuel consumption of 1.9 l/100 km. According to the manufacturer, the new Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid will feature the best properties from three different car types.
The car is powered by a five-cylinder 2.4-litre D5 turbo diesel that delivers 215 horsepower and maximum torque of 440 Nm.
The engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The rear axle of the vehicle features ERAD (Electric Rear Axle Drive) in the form of an electric motor producing 70 horsepower. The electric motor receives its power from 12 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Thanks to the battery, the V60 Plug-in Hybrid is capable to act as a full electric vehicle for up to 50 kilometres.
When the button for the All-Wheel Drive is pushed, the center stack then activates its electric four-wheel drive. Most standard AWD systems use mechanical power transmission. But here, the central control unit is what controls how the torque is distributed to the front wheels (diesel-driven) and its rear axle (electrically powered).
The advantage of an electric AWD is that it has been designed to deliver better traction which is important when driving on slippery road surfaces like those covered with mud or snow. Still, as a result of the electric motor having a lower output, the torque level provided for its rear wheels are limited, resulting in the AWD system having a maximum speed of 100 km/h.
In addition, once the AWD has been activated, the diesel engine will run continuously while the High Voltage Generator ensures that the battery pack has enough charge level to provide the needed power to the motor on its rear axle. Since the electrical AWD is not automatic and is activated based on driver demand, this means that it is more fuel efficient than conventional AWD systems.
To make sure that there is enough charge left for driving, the V60 Plug-in Hybrid gives the driver the choice to save on battery capacity. This is important especially when one has a plan to drive in urban low emission zones.
This is made possible through the Save For Later, which when activated, ensures that the battery has enough charge remaining for another zero emission drive. The goal of this mode is for the battery to have the necessary capacity to reach around 20 kilometers.
When needed, the High Voltage Generator can recharge the battery to make sure that there is indeed enough charge left for the next "Pure" drive. Another intelligent feature in the new Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid is the two-step braking system.
Once the driver pushes down on the brake pedal, the system starts to activate the brake by controlling the motor on the rear axle. That braking energy is then utilized in order to regenerate the battery pack. It is only when there is a need for additional braking power than what can be provided by the rear axle that the mechanical brakes are activated.