Volvo’s Detroit motor show star is this petrol-electric Volvo XC60 Plug-in Hybrid Concept. As well as confirming Volvo’s intentions to launch a plug-in hybrid in North America, Russia and China, the concept is also a first look at one of the new four-cylinder petrol engines from Volvo’s new Volvo Environmental Architecture family.
The XC60 combines a 256bhp four-cylinder petrol engine with a 69bhp, 147lb ft electric motor. It can drive for up to 35 miles on electric power alone, and it can achieve more than 100mpg on the European combined cycle, with emissions rated at below 53g/km. More than half of US drivers are estimated to travel less than 30 miles a day.
The XC60 is being presented as a concept, with Volvo CEO Stefan Jacoby stressing that it is not yet certain which Volvo will be sold first in the US with the plug-in powertrain. “A world-class plug-in hybrid will reach our American showrooms in a couple of years,” said Jakoby. “However, it is too early to say which model will be the first to feature the solution.”
The XC60 hybrid uses the same plug-in technology as the £47,000 V60 Plug-in Hybrid that will go on sale in Europe later this year. However, the V60 will feature a 212bhp, 324lb ft five-cylinder 2.4-litre turbodiesel engine.
Both cars will feature three driving modes: Pure, Hybrid and Power. Pure is all-electric, Hybrid uses the electric assistance to boost economy and Power uses the electric assistance to boost performance.
Other features of the drivetrain include a selectable electrical all-wheel drive mode, which is claimed to be more economical than a permanent mechanical all-wheel drive system as it is only activated when a driver needs assistance in snow, mud or similar low-grip situations.
A two-stage braking system also features, which initially slows the car using the electric motor (the energy from which is used to recharge the battery pack) before the mechanical brakes kick in when extra braking is required.
A full recharge of the batteries on both the XC60 and V60 takes between 3.5 hours and 7.5 hours depending on the amperage of the power source. While recharging, it is also possible to pre-heat or cool the cabin to prevent the car using unnecessary charge on these tasks when on the move. The battery can also be pre-conditioned to its optimum working temperature, too, thus maximising the electric-only range.