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Detroit show: Another hybrid concept from Volvo

Volvo XC60 plug-in hybrid concept more frugal than a Prius, faster than a Golf GTI

9 Jan 2012

HAVING pushed the boundaries by developing the world’s first plug-in diesel hybrid powertrain for its V60 wagon, Volvo Cars will take a more traditional approach with its follow-up effort – the petrol-electric XC60 SUV plug-in concept – which will debut in Detroit this week.

Like the V60, which was recently revealed in final production guise, the XC60 plug-in uses a conventional combustion engine to power the front wheels and a smaller electric motor powers those at the rear.

Also like its plug-in diesel sibling, the XC60 can be operated in three different modes: Pure, Hybrid and Power.

In default Hybrid mode, Volvo claims the concept sips just 2.3 litres of fuel per 100km (a Toyota Prius hybrid uses 3.9L/100km).

In Pure mode, it can travel up to 45km on ‘zero-emissions’ electricity only.

Power mode optimises the SUV for peak performance with combined power of 261kW and 580Nm of torque delivered to all four wheels, giving the luxury soft-roader a zero to 100km/h sprint time of just 6.1 seconds – quicker than a Volkswagen Golf GTI hot hatch. The all-new petrol engine is a member of Volvo’s well-publicised ‘Environmental Architecture’ family, which the brand has said will be exclusively four-cylinder for all future non-EV models.

18 center imageIts output of 209kW and 380 Nm is channelled to the front wheels through a newly developed eight-speed automatic transmission.

The 52kW electric motor at the rear is powered by a 12kWh lithium-ion battery pack mounted under the floor of the loading area.

The concept also features an innovative integrated starter motor and generator on the crankshaft, which Volvo claims generates an extra 34kW during acceleration and charges the battery during braking.

The battery can be fully recharged in 3.5 hours through a 220 volt/12 amp power outlet, which is similar to a standard Australian 240V unit.

Volvo claims that the petrol-electric powertrain combination will be better suited to large markets that traditionally favour petrol engines, such as the US and China, than the V60’s plug-in diesel option.

Volvo Car Corporation president and CEO Stefan Jacoby said the combination of petrol and electric power in this layout “brings the ingenious plug-in hybrid solution into the global context we are aiming for with all our car models”.

While the Swedish brand has confirmed that the plug-in petrol powertrain from the concept will hit American showrooms within a couple of years, it has not confirmed if its first application will be in the XC60.

“It is too early to say which model will be the first to feature this solution,” said Mr Jacoby.

Volvo Cars Australia has already confirmed it will bring the V60 plug-in diesel to the Australian market, although, as we reported in December, the car’s arrival has now been pushed back a year until early 2014.

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