The fact that automakers are creating hybrid versions of existing vehicles and doing so rather quickly is obvious. Fitting any car or truck with an electric motor assist usually always equals better fuel economy and an increase in sales all while lowering the company’s overall carbon footprint. For this very reason, it has now becoming increasingly difficult to find a unique hybrid. One company in particular has actually managed to change the game by recently introducing a diesel/electric and now they’re at it again, but with a more traditional approach. In an attempt to break the mold of gasoline/electric hybrids, Volvo has pulled the covers off the XC60 Plug-in Hybrid.
Like the V60 Plug-in Hybrid Diesel, the XC60 is what Volvo calls “three cars in one.” At the driver’s disposal is a button that can transform the car into an electric car, an economical hybrid or a high-powered performance street racer. The respective driving modes (Pure, Hybrid and Power) mitigate the car’s hybrid assist operations to determine how the XC60 will function. In Pure mode, the 12 kilowatt hour lithium-ion battery pack powers the high-torque electric motor to deliver up to 35 miles of completely zero emissions driving. The driver selects the mode and full range is completely dependant upon how their right foot behaves. When Hybrid mode is selected, the electric motor works in tandem with the newly developed VEA four cylinder gasoline engine. This is the default setting when ever the car is started and can return up to 100 mpg on the European driving cycle. With a total driving range of up to 600 miles on a single tank, the XC60 Plug-in will definitely go far. And if a driver wants to get there rather quickly, all they’ll have to do is select Power mode. When turned on, the single turbocharged block puts out all of its 280 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque through the front wheels via Volvo’s newly enlisted eight speed automatic transmission. It also combines the electric motor’s 70 horsepower to deliver 350 horsepower total for a 0-60 mph time of just 5.8 seconds. “In the XC60 Plug-in Hybrid Concept we demonstrate that our forthcoming four-cylinder engines offer the same high performance as today’s sixes. At the same time, their fuel consumption will be lower than in current four-cylinder engines,” said Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President for Research and Development at Volvo Car Corporation.
Just like the V60 Plug-in, the XC60 can run either in two wheel drive or four wheel drive. The gasoline engine operates the front wheels while the electric motor assist is placed in the back to move the rear. This gives the opportunity for a bit of mud running in the XC60′s tall wagon body. And when you’re done having fun embarrassing sports cars and Priuses alike, the new Volvo can be recharged at home using a conventional outlet. Charging time varies by voltage as a 220v power will return a full battery in just 3.5 hours. Using a 110v/12A source, a full charge will take 7.5 hours, otherwise known as overnight.
The XC60 Plug-in Hybrid will be fully revealed at the North American International Auto Show this month. It is currently still in Concept mode, but Volvo plans on releasing the car as 2013 model year. When it does finally show its production face, it surely will fit in with Volvo’s new line of honestly unique hybrids.
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