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by Tim Beissmann

The Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid appears no closer to an Australian launch despite the local division continuing to put its hand up for the diesel-electric wagon.

Higher-than-anticipated demand for the world’s first mass-produced diesel plug-in has forced Volvo to ramp up production from an initial batch of 1000 in 2012 to a planned 7600 this year and 10,000 in 2014.

Volvo Australia corporate communications manager Oliver Peagam told CarAdvice this intense competition for vehicles from Europe meant Australia was still without confirmation of if and when the V60 Plug-In Hybrid would arrive on our shores.

“We’re still asking for it,” Peagam said. “There’s been big demand here [in Europe], they’ve just had to ramp up production to fulfil demand.

“There are a few logistical things that we need to look at. There are a few hoops we’ve got to jump through before we get any plug-in stuff… But we’d like to have it.”

While Volvo Australia was originally hopeful of introducing the V60 Plug-In Hybrid as a MY2014 vehicle, Peagam admitted a 2014 launch now appeared doubtful. It’s likely the new Volvo XC90, which is due in local showrooms around the first quarter of 2015, will beat it to our market, suggesting Volvo Australia’s first plug-in model is still at least two years away.

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It would most likely be priced between $80,000 and $100,000 in Australia, sitting above the $78,490 V60 T6 R-Design sports flagship while remaining under six figures.

The Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid teams a 158kW/440Nm 2.4-litre five-cylinder diesel engine with a rear-mounted 50kW/200Nm electric motor and an 11.2kWh lithium-ion battery, combining for peak powertrain outputs of 208kW and 640Nm.

The result is an all-wheel-drive wagon that can accelerate from 0-100km/h in 6.1 seconds yet consume just 1.8 litres per 100km on the combined cycle. The V60 Plug-In Hybrid has a 50km pure-electric range and a 900km range in engine-assisted hybrid mode.

Volvo says recharging the battery takes between 3.5 and 7.5 hours depending on the power source used.

The only diesel-powered V60 currently available in Australia is the $58,490 D4, which is powered by a 120kW/400Nm 2.0-litre five-cylinder engine, accelerates from 0-100km/h in 9.4 seconds and uses 6.0L/100km combined.

The updated MY2014 Volvo V60 range will arrive in local showrooms in the final quarter of this year.

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