Detroit 2012: Volvo XC60 Plug-In Hybrid Concept

By Brandon Turkus

January 04, 2012

Volvo, renowned for its safety technology, is now looking to bust into the world of green motoring. The Swedish brand will unveil a plug-in-hybrid version of its XC60 CUV at the upcoming North American International Auto Show.
Being a plug-in, the XC60 is sort of like a mix of the setups in the Toyota Prius and Chevrolet Volt. It has the plug-in capacity of the Volt, being capable of traveling up to 35 miles on electric power alone. Unlike the Volt though, the turbocharged four-cylinder engine isn’t just there to recharge the batteries. Instead, it functions more like a Prius, working in tandem with the electric motor to propel the vehicle forward. In fact, when in hybrid mode, the XC60 Plug-In produces 350 horsepower, 280 of which come from the turbocharged four-pot.
When running in hybrid, the XC60 is quite fuel efficient, netting up to 50 miles per gallon (over 100 mpg on the nutty European scale. With carbon dioxide emissions limited to a mere 53 grams per kilometer, this plug-in Volvo is also quite clean too.
The XC60 Plug-In Hybrid will serve to gauge public opinion to a Volvo hybrid in the United States. Meanwhile, a plug-in version of the Volvo V60 station wagon with a similar layout (using diesel instead of gas) will go on sale in Europe later in 2012. We’ll have more of the Volvo XC60 Plug-In Hybrid Concept when we see it live at the 2012 North American International Auto Show on Monday, January 9.
Please scroll down for the official press release from Volvo.
Volvo XC60 Plug-in Hybrid Concept - superior to all existing hybrids
Volvo Car Corporation's technology in the advanced Volvo XC60 Plug-in Hybrid Concept gives the car owner possibilities that no other existing hybrid car can offer.
"The gasoline plug-in hybrid is ideal for the American motorist who wants an electric car while at the same time retaining all the power and capacity that comes in his or her present vehicle," says Stefan Jacoby, President and CEO at Volvo Car Corporation.
A diesel-electric V60 Plug-in Hybrid is Volvo Car Corporation's first production model with this new technology, and the car will go on sale in Europe later this year.
In order to make the solution viable for U.S. and Chinese buyers, it needs to feature a gasoline engine. In the XC60 Plug-in Hybrid Concept, the electrification technology is blended with a state-of-the-art 280-horsepower four-cylinder gasoline engine.
"The combination brings the ingenious plug-in hybrid solution into the global context we are aiming for with all our car models. The gasoline version has great potential in several markets that are vital for our ambitious growth plans, such as the United States, China and Russia," Stefan Jacoby says.
Volvo Car Corporation's North American dealers welcome the introduction of a plug-in hybrid.
"From a U.S. market perspective, a gasoline plug-in hybrid would be an excellent addition to our product offer," says Patty Hooley, member of the Dealer Council of Volvo Cars North America.
Daily commute on electricity
An electric motor producing 70 horsepower - combined with a four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engine - gives the driver a muscular power plant packing a total of 350 horsepower. Yet this very same car can be driven up to 35 miles (charge depleting range, U.S. certification driving cycle) on electricity alone or as a high-efficiency hybrid with operational fuel economy 50 mpg.
The U.S certification standards include emissions from the production of the electric energy. According to the European certification driving cycle NEDC, CO2 emissions are 53 g/km (2.3 l/100 km) - which translates into fuel economy of over 100 mpg.
"A plug-in hybrid is the ideal eco-car for today's conditions," Stefan Jacoby says. "It gives a large proportion of motorists sufficient range on electricity for their daily commute. More than half of U.S. drivers cover less than 30 miles a day. With its three driving modes, the XC60 Plug-in Hybrid Concept also offers the owner a conventional model's interior space, safety, performance and long range. It gives the driver uncompromising flexibility to cover every type of motoring need."
Bridge to the future
In recent time, hybrids and all-electric cars have been establishing a presence in the minds of North American customers.
 "Our goal is to be a leading brand within fuel efficiency," Jacoby says. " In the XC60 Plug-in Hybrid we emphasize how a blend of state-of-the-art combustion technology and innovative electrification can be an unbeatably attractive bridge to a future where the all-electric cars become more established in the market."