Set to go on sale in Europe in 2012, Volvo says the V60 Plug-In Hybrid will be a world first, with a diesel engine driving the front wheels and a an electric motor mounted to the rear axle.
The real game-changer is its efficiency: combined cycle fuel consumption is just 1.9 litres/100km and CO2
emissions are less than 50g/km. In comparison, the standard V60 D5 wagon uses 6.9 litres/100km combined and emits 183g/km CO2
The diesel engine is the familiar 2.4-litre D5 turbo-diesel, which produces 160kW of power and 440Nm of torque in the Plug-In.
At the rear, the Electric Rear Axle Drive system is driven by a 12kWh lithium-ion battery pack and produces 52kW of power.
Power is delivered via a six-speed automatic transmission and the vehicle can also be driven in electric-only mode for up to 50km.
Volvo CEO, Stefan Jacoby, said the Swedish brand was taking a different approach to its green vehicles, offering cars that are designed for drivers rather than fuel misers.
“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,” Mr Jacoby said.“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.”
Volvo Car Australia’s Laurissa Mirabelli said the local branch had considerable interest in the V60 Plug-In Hybrid, but said it was far too early to comment on a potential Australian introduction.
“It’s very exciting. It’s something we’ll certainly consider,” Ms Mirabelli said.
She said she “definitely” expected Volvo Car Australia to introduce a plug-in vehicle sometime in the future, admitting the brand believed the range-extending technology was the preferable option in Australia compared with electric vehicles, which are not yet adequately supported by the infrastructure.
The all-new Volvo V60 wagon range will go on sale in Australia in March. Prices are yet to be announced, although expect a slight premium over the S60 sedan, which ranges from $51,950 to $64,950.