After nearly a year of waiting, Volvo has announced the full specifications and pricing of its first plug-in hybrid car, the 2012 Volvo V60 Diesel Plug-in Hybrid Wagon.
Last February, we were invited to Sweden to get an exclusive sneak peak of the V60 Plug-in Hybrid Wagon concept. Then in June we were given the chance to get behind the wheel of one of Volvo’s early prototype cars at the 2012 Challenge Bibendum
Now we can tell you about our pre-launch visit to Gothenburg, where Volvo executives displayed the production V60 Plug-in Hybrid wagon for the first time, strongly hinting that the V60 Plug-in Hybrid isn’t going to be the only plug-in hybrid we’ll see from those Swedish chefs of safety in the coming months.
A Series Of Firsts, With No Compromise
Volvo is visibly proud of the V60 Plug-in Hybrid Wagon. While it might not be the first plug-in car to the market, Volvo executives are keen to point out that the V60 Plug-in Hybrid is a first in several other key areas.
2012 Volvo V60 Plug-in HybridEnlarge Photo
Throughout the cabin, there's a sense of luxury too -- the first 1,000 cars will come in a Pure Limited specification, which includes leather seats, Artic Night wood panelling, twin chrome exhausts, specially designed alluminium wheels, and all of the other top-of-the-range features you'd expect from a Volvo.
There are some nice touches you might not expect as well: the gear selector lights up to tell you which position it is in, while a smartphone app lets you pre-heat or cool the cabin in a variety of ways depending on where the car is and its state of charge.
And ulike some cars which scream their eco-credentials, the Volvo V60 plug-in hybrid is completely understated. From the rear, only the subtle chrome strip on the tailgate hints at its impressive fuel economy, while a small Plug-in hybrid badge sits on below the "A" pillar on both sides of the car.There are other clues too, like the specially-designed front grille and front spoiler, but to the untrained eye, it looks like any other volvo wagon.
In other words, the Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid is the green car equivalent of a street sleeper.
Through-The Road Hybrid System
Volvo’s No Compromise ethos follows in the car’s specifications. Up front there’s a 2.4 liter, five-cylinder diesel engine married to a six-speed automatic gearbox. Producing 215 horsepower, it is supplemented by a 7 kilowatt electric motor, which enables the V60 Plug-in Hybrid to enter all-electric all-wheel drive mode when required.
Driving the rear wheels is a 50 kilowatt peak electric motor, making the V60 Plug-in Hybrid Wagon a through-the-road hybrid. Combined, the entire drivetrain system can produce an impressive 472 foot-pounds of torque, and, in power mode, accelerate the car from 0-62 mph in just 6.2 seconds.
All that torque comes in handy for towing too: Volvo claims the V60 Plug-in Hybrid Wagon can easily tow up to 1.9 tons, although fuel economy won’t be anywhere near the headline-grabbing 1.9 l/100km (124 mpg) it has achieved on the European test cycle.
Electric Only Performance
While the V60 Plug-in Hybrid Wagon uses a conventional diesel engine and a conventional front-wheel drive automatic gearbox, the V60 Plug-in Hybrid Wagon can drive for up to 32 miles in all-electric mode thanks to its 11.2 kilowatt-hour (8 kilowatt-hour useable) battery pack from LG Chem and rear-wheel drive electric motor.
Capable of driving in all-electric (Pure) mode at highway speeds, the V60 Plug-in Hybrid Wagon offers those with an average commute of around 30 miles the option to use only electricity during the week, switching to diesel power for longer weekend trips.
In Pure mode, the V60 Plug-in Hybrid accelerates more slowly, but Volvo insists that its performance is still on par with other plug-in cars on the market.