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by Tim Beissmann

Volvo has released more information about the Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid diesel ahead of its world premiere at the Geneva Motor Show and European launch in 2012.

According to Volvo, the V60 will become the world’s first diesel plug-in hybrid next year, with the Geneva-bound vehicle “virtually production-ready”.

The show vehicle and subsequent production models will be the result of the collaboration between Volvo Cars and Swedish energy supplier Vattenfall.

The front wheels of the V60 Plug-In Hybrid are driven by a 2.4-litre D5 diesel engine, producing 160kW of power and 440Nm of torque.

The ERAD (Electric Rear Axle Drive) system features a 52kW/200Nm electric motor driving the rear wheels, which is powered by a 12kWh lithium-ion battery pack. A six-speed automatic transmission completes the V60’s powertrain package.

Owners will be able to select from three different drive modes: Pure, Hybrid and Power.

In Pure mode the vehicle travels as a wholly electric vehicle for a range of up to 51.5km.

In Hybrid mode, combined cycle fuel consumption is an incredible 1.9 litres/100km and CO2 emissions average 49g/km. Hybrid mode is the V60’s default setting, and operated in this mode it has a total range of 1200km.

In Power mode the car combines both diesel engine and electric motor power for 212kW and 640Nm, leading to a 0-100km/h sprint time of 6.9 seconds.

Volvo admits the cost of the battery pack means the purchase price of the V60 Plug-In Hybrid will be higher than a conventional internal combustion model, although it says this will be offset at least partially by the savings in fuel costs, which it predicts will be around one-third that of the standard diesel. Volvo will announce pricing closer to the vehicle’s on sale date.

A full home recharge will take around five hours according, but depending on voltage that can range from three hours to seven and a half hours.

In addition to the three driving modes, the V60 also allows drivers to further personalise their vehicle’s energy use. Drivers are given the option to conserve battery power for later – for example, if they know they are heading towards the city. They can also preselect their trip distance to help the car strike the right balance to minimise CO2 emissions.

The AWD button on the centre console activates four-wheel drive mode, with the centre control unit managing torque distribution to the diesel-driven front wheels and the electrically powered rear axle.

Also included in the Plug-In Hybrid package is a mobile phone application, an enhanced instrument panel, and numerous weight-saving and aerodynamic-improving components, including lightweight alloy wheels and low rolling-resistance tyres.

Despite the extra technology embedded within the car, Volvo says the V60 meets the same benchmark safety standards as the rest of its range, with a number of existing and all-new systems built in to ensure maximum driver and occupant safety in a crash.

Volvo Car Australia’s Laurissa Mirabelli last month said the local arm was very excited about the potential of the new model, and confirmed it would “certainly consider” the V60 Plug-In Hybrid when it enters production next year.

The unveiling of the 2012 Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid is one of the most anticipated of this year’s Geneva Motor Show, and we will bring you all the news next week as it happens.




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