Volvo's 150mpg hybrid estate 02 | 03 | 2011

    VOLVO LIFTED the wraps from its sub-50g/km diesel-electric plug-in hybrid version of its V60 estate at Geneva. With a combined economy of 150mpg, the Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid is powered by a 212bhp, 325lb ft 2.4-litre D5 turbodiesel engine, sending power to the front wheels.

    The star of the car though is the fact the rear axle is powered by Volvo’s ERAD (Electric Rear Axle Drive) system which incorporates a 69bhp electric motor powered by a 12kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The Plug-In Hybrid also uses a six-speed automatic transmission.

    The driver has the opportunity to select from three driving modes in the V60 plug-in: Pure, Hybrid and Power. Pure results in the car operating on electricity-only for up to 32 miles; the default is Hybrid, which balances economy and performance; not surprisingly, Power mode delivers the car's best performance. From a 230V/6A power socket, a full recharge takes 7.5 hours.

    The car also comes with a range of features, including lightweight alloy wheels and low resistance Pirelli tyres, a revised instrument panel, plus the option of being able to preheat or cool the cabin during the recharging process. Cleverly, this system can be operated by the in-car menu or a smartphone app.

    The V60 Plug-in Hybrid will be available from sometime next year, and all Volvo will say on price is it “will be more expensive to buy than a Volvo V60 with a conventional combustion engine”. No surprise there then.

    “This second-generation hybrid is the perfect choice for the uncompromising buyer who wants a superbly carbon dioxide-lean car packed with driving pleasure," Volvo boss Stefan Jacoby said.

    "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.”

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    Jim McGill

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