Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid to make its debut at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 27, 2011

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.

Press Release

Volvo Car Corporation first with next-generation hybrids - the V60 Plug-in Hybrid is three cars in one

How about integrating the very best properties from three different car types into one, single attractive sports wagon? By simply pressing a button you can choose which car you want to drive:An electric car with a range of up to 50 kilometres. A high-efficiency hybrid with carbon dioxide emissions averaging just 48 g/km. A muscular fun-to-drive car with a combined output of 215+70 horsepower, 440+200 Nm of torque and acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h of just 6.1 seconds. Allow us to present the world's first diesel plug-in hybrid. Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid will reach the showrooms 2012.

"The second-generation hybrid is the perfect choice for the uncompromising buyer who wants a superbly carbon dioxide-lean car packed with driving pleasure," says Stefan Jacoby, President and CEO of Volvo Cars.
The front wheels of the V60 Plug-in Hybrid will be driven by a five-cylinder 2.4-litre five-cylinder turbodiesel, which produces 215 horsepower and maximum torque of 440 Nm. The car features a six-speed automatic transmission.
The rear axle is powered by an electric motor producing 70 horsepower. The electric motor receives its power from a 12 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, located under the load floor.
The sophisticated and exceptionally compact battery pack consists of 10 modules with 20 cells in each module. It has an integrated computer that monitors and compares the temperature and charge level in each of the 200 cells. The battery pack also has an integrated water-cooling system, which is a connected to the car's climate control unit.

Three driving modes - three cars in one
The driver chooses the preferred driving mode via three buttons on the instrument panel: Pure, Hybrid or Power. The interaction between diesel and electric power is handled via a control system.

"In order to get true car enthusiasts to think green, you have to offer them the opportunity to drive with low carbon dioxide emissions without taking away the adrenaline rush that promotes genuine driving pleasure. The V60 Plug-in Hybrid has all the traditional properties of a genuine sports wagon. What we've done is to spice it up with spearhead technology that allows the driver to choose: zero emissions, high-efficiency hybrid or full-on performance. Just select the mode that suits best," says Stefan Jacoby.

The different temperaments
The Pure, Hybrid and Power driving modes give the V60 Plug-in Hybrid three different temperaments:
In Pure the car runs only on its electric motor as much as possible. If the battery has been recharged using electricity from a renewable source, the driving range is up to 50 km with zero emissions of carbon dioxide. Battery range varies with terrain, climate and driving style.
Hybrid is the default mode whenever the car is started. The diesel engine and electric motor interact to provide the optimal balance between driving pleasure and low environmental impact. Emissions of CO2 (NEDC, Combined driving cycle for certification) are 48 g/km, corresponding to diesel fuel consumption of 1.8 l/100 km. The car's total range is up to 1200 km. The driver has the possibility to key in the planned route's distance (short, medium or long) in the car setup menu, The control system calculates the balance between diesel and electric power to obtain the lowest possible CO2 emissions for the given distance.
In Power the technology is optimised to give the car the best possible performance. The diesel engine and electric motor have a combined power output 215+70 horsepower and maximum torque of 440+200 Nm. The electric motor's lightning-quick torque delivery contributes to the car's 0 to 100 km/h acceleration time of 6.1 seconds.
The majority of all European car drivers cover less than 50 km a day, for instance to and from work. On longer trips, the diesel engine gives the car the same range as a conventional hybrid.

Better traction with All Wheel Drive
Pushing the AWD (All Wheel Drive) button in the centre stack activates electric four-wheel drive. Instead of the mechanical power transmission of the conventional AWD system, it is the central control unit that manages torque distribution to the diesel-driven front wheels and the electrically powered rear axle. The electric AWD is designed to offer the driver better traction when starting and driving on slippery road surfaces such as snow or mud.
However, due to the electric motor's lower output, the torque level available for the rear wheels is limited and the AWD system is active in speeds up to 100 km/h.
When AWD is activated the diesel engine is running continuously and the High Voltage Generator maintains a sufficient charge level on the battery pack that feeds the motor on the rear axle with power.
Since the electrical All Wheel Drive is active on driver demand only it is more fuel efficient than a conventional, permanent AWD system

Save battery power for later
The V60 Plug-in Hybrid offers the driver the option to save battery capacity in order to have enough charge for driving on clean electricity later, for instance in an urban low emission zone.
When Save For Later is activated, the car makes sure that the battery has a sufficient charge level for another pure drive. If necessary, the High Voltage Generator recharges the battery in order to maintain a sufficient charge level for another "Pure" drive.
The aim is that the Save For Later mode should secure enough battery capacity for approximately 20 kilometre drive on pure electricity.

Two-step braking system
The two-step braking system is another intelligent feature in the Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid. When the driver pushes the brake pedal, the system initially brakes the car by controlling the rear axle motor. This braking energy is used to regenerate the car's battery pack.
The mechanical brakes are only activated when the situation requires more braking power than the rear axle can handle.

Recharging at home
The Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid is recharged via a regular power socket (230V/6A, 10A or 16A) at home or in a parking lot. The charging time depends on the level of the current. A full 10A charge takes 4.5 hours. The time is shortened to 3,5 hours with 16A, while a charge in a 6A socket takes 7.5 hours.
To get a comfortable start of the journey, the car driver has the possibility to preheat or cool the passenger compartment during the recharging process. This also means that more battery capacity can be used for powering the car.
The pre-conditioning also includes the possibility to cool the batteries. The battery pack has an ideal working temperature of 20-30°C. This means that the pre-cooling is highly important for maximising the charging capacity and thereby the driving range on each charge. The timing is programmed via the car's setup menu or remotely via a smart phone application.
The V60 Plug-in Hybrid has two heating possibilities. When running on electricity a PTC (Positive Temperature Coefficient) air heater is used. The car also has a Fuel Operated Diesel heater.

Smart mobile applications
On the outside the car has several additional features that emphasise its CO2-lean profile, such as lightweight wheels with exceptionally low air drag and tyres designed for low rolling resistance.
The instrument panel in the Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid has been modified to give the driver a full range of important information about diesel and electricity consumption, battery charge level, remaining range and so on.
It will also be possible to communicate with the car via a mobile application. This gives the owner access to a number of smart features, such as climate conditioning, both pre cooling and pre heating, a reminder to plug in the charging cable if this hasn't been done at a certain and pre-set time for charging.

New, groundbreaking green-tech
"Volvo Cars has introduced groundbreaking green-tech before. For instance, we invented the catalytic converter with Lambda probe, a system that is now fitted to all cars. With our latest development we are once again demonstrating our leadership in the environmental field by being first to market hybrid technology in an entirely new dimension," says Stefan Jacoby, and adds:
"Having Vattenfall in the electricity generating industry as a partner gives us an added strength.
It allows us to be on the inside and shape developments in this area, for instance when it comes to clean electricity and infrastructure. We will also offer our customers a climate-neutral electricity supply contract when our plug-in hybrid enters series production."

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