Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid Proves Popular: Production Doubles In Europe

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There is, at the moment, only one production diesel plug-in hybrid car on sale, and it's currently only sold in Europe.

That car is the Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid, combining the long-distance touring ability and economy of a diesel powertrain with the short-distance cleanliness and inexpense of electric power.

The combination is proving so popular that Volvo is quickly ramping up production to cope with demand, reports Cars UK.

Volvo built 1,000 V60 plug-ins in its first year, 2012 (which sold out immediately), but expected to raise that to somewhere between 4,000-6,000 units in 2013. Now, they've said that production will be raised to 10,000 units.

With CO2 emissions of just 48 g/km, the Volvo's popularity is largely to do with Europe's heavily CO2-based taxation rates for vehicles. In the Netherlands, where CO2 taxation can add thousands to the price of a new car, buyers have already ordered 3,000 cars.

Demand could go up in London too, with the announcement that the city's congestion charge exemption will only be granted to cars producing below 75 g/km of CO2. Once the regulations come into force in July, Volvo will be the only automaker with a luxury vehicle exempt from the $15-per-day charge.

Of course, dodging heavy taxes is just one of the V60 plug-in hybrid's virtues.

Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid: First Drive

Based on the 2.4-liter five-cylinder turbodiesel model sold in Europe, the V60 Plug-In drives its front wheels with diesel and its rear wheels electrically, with peak system output of 285 horsepower.

It's quick, taking just over 6 seconds to reach 62 mph, and has an electric range of 31 miles.

Combined economy on the European cycle--on which CO2 emissions are based--is 129 mpg. However, this figure is highly variable depending on several factors, and even Volvo itself admits the figure is unrealistic for most drivers.

Pricing is a steep $65,000 in Europe and it isn't coming to the U.S.--but right now, it seems like the right car for European buyers wanting to avoid hefty taxes.

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