Volvo Unveils Plug-in Hybrid Diesel V60: 124 MPG, 30 Electric Miles, AWD, 0-60 in 6.9 Sec

By · February 21, 2011

Ahead of next week's Geneva Motor Show Volvo has taken the wraps off its latest plug-in project, the V60 PHEV. Calling it "three cars in one," Volvo has included just about everything but the kitchen sink for next generation car enthusiasts: an all-electric range of 30 miles using a 12 kWh lithium-ion battery, 124 mpg when driving in hybrid mode, a 2.4 liter turbocharged diesel engine, all-wheel drive using the electric motor for the rear wheels and the diesel engine for the front wheels, and a sport mode that combines both power sources for maximum performance resulting in a 0-60 mph time of 6.9 seconds.

The World's First Diesel-Electric Production PHEV

Just last week we were treated to the notion of a plug-in hybrid diesel-electric SUV in the form of a Land Rover prototype. Yet while the Land Rover is a one-off test model, the V60 PHEV, when it hits the market in 2012, will be the world's first diesel-electric PHEV—combining the efficiencies of both a diesel and electric drivetrain into one vehicle.

An offshoot of Volvo's efforts with the V70 PHEV prototype, the V60 PHEV will add to Volvo's growing list of plug-in vehicles which include the production-intent C30 Electric.

What Mode Do You Want? The V60 PHEV Gives the Driver Complete Control

More than any other mass-market plug-in we've seen (believe it or not, only the BYD F3DM even comes close), the V60 PHEV gives the driver lots of control over driving mode. Want it to be all-electric? Just press a button and if the V60 has enough charge left you'll transfer into EV mode. In fact the V60 PHEV offers three modes:

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  • PURE Mode: In this mode the V60 will use its 70 horsepower electric motor and 12 kWh battery (8 kWh usable) exclusively until the battery range is exhausted.
  • HYBRID Mode: This is the car's default mode upon start-up in which both the rear-wheel drive electric motor and the front-wheel drive 215 horsepower turbodiesel engine work together. In this mode Volvo claims the car can return 124 miles per gallon and emit less than 49 grams of CO2 per kilometer. Keep in mind that it's hard to tell how realistic manufacturer's claims are, and 124 mpg does seem like a stretch for a vehicle like this.
  • POWER Mode: No this one isn't for control freaks, it's for performance freaks. In this mode the V60 meshes both the diesel and the electric drivetrains to provide maximum torque and power, resulting in a claimed 0-60 mph time of 6.9 seconds.

Volvo says the POWER mode is important for plug-in cars to go mainstream. "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," said Stefan Jacoby, President and CEO of Volvo Cars. "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."

The video below provides a good summary of all the various driving modes, as well as recharging capabilities.

It Will Hit the Market in 2012, But Will it Come to the U.S.?

So what, another concept car you say? Nope. Volvo says the V60 PHEV will hit European showrooms in 2012. No word on whether or not it will reach the U.S., but given that the conventional V60 isn't available stateside and most automakers are reticent to sell conventional diesels here, chances seem slim.

Yet in an email, Daniel Johnston, Product Communications Manager for Volvo Cars of North America, told PluginCars.com, "We never comment on future products for this market. However, we have not said 'no' to this project. First will be a roll out for Europe, we want to ramp up slowly with production to keep quality where it should be. Right now this car is diesel configuration which does not meet US EPA standards, so from that side we need to work on an emission system or alternative for our market. If it came to this market, it would probably be a good year after it launched in other markets. It all depends on getting a US-spec PHEV and still meeting European volumn expectations."

But What's the Price?

Although there's no official word on pricing yet, a fully loaded V50 costs about $39,000 in the US. The V60 is not currently for sale in the States, but in Europe the V60 sells for about $5,000 more than the V50. Add in at least $8,000 worth of technology for the PHEV and now you're talking about a $50-$55,000 vehicle. I could be completely wrong, but I'd be willing to bet that'll be the price range if it ever comes to the US.

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