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Volvo to unveil XC60 gasoline-electric Plug-in Hybrid Concept at Detroit show; system targeted for US and China markets

XC60 Plug-in Hybrid Concept. Click to enlarge.

At the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Volvo Car Corporation will unveil the Volvo XC60 gasoline-electric Plug-in Hybrid Concept. In February 2011 at the Geneva Motor Show, Volvo introduced the diesel-electric V60 Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) to go on sale in Europe later this year. (Earlier post.) In today’s model range the Volvo S60, V60 and XC60 form one vehicle cluster. (Earlier post.)

To make the plug-in technology viable for buyers in the US and China, Volvo notes, it needs to feature a gasoline engine. Volvo will bring the gasoline plug-in technology to market in the US “in a couple of years”, said Stefan Jacoby, President and CEO of Volvo Car Corporation, although without saying which model will be the first to feature the system.

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. 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

System elements highlighted. Click to enlarge.

The front wheels of the XC60 Plug-in Hybrid Concept are powered by a four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engine from the forthcoming VEA (Volvo Environmental Architecture) engine family. (Earlier post.) This engine produces 280 hp (209 kW) and maximum torque of 380 N·m (280 lb-ft). Power delivery to the wheels comes via a newly developed eight-speed automatic transmission.

The engine in the XC60 Plug-in Hybrid Concept has no conventional starter motor or alternator. Instead, there is an Integrated Starter motor and Generator (ISG) connected to the crankshaft, which is located between the engine and the transmission. The ISG is capable of delivering an extra 34 kW (45 hp) during acceleration. It also charges the battery during braking.

The rear axle of the XC60 Plug-in Hybrid Concept is driven by an electric motor producing 70 hp (52 kW) and 200 N·m (148 lb-ft). It is supplied with power from a 12 kWh lithium-ion battery pack installed under the floor of the load compartment.

The battery pack is recharged from a regular power outlet, at home or at a parking place. Recharging time varies with the current. If 220V is available a full charge with 12A takes 3.5 hours. With 110V/12A a full charge takes 7.5 hours. It is also possible while recharging the car to heat or cool the passenger compartment, reserving more battery power to propel the car.

The concept car carries a “T8” badge, which designates a combined 350 hp (261 kW) of the four-cylinder engine and the electric motor—i.e., territory previously occupied solely by eight-cylinder engines.

The driver chooses the driving mode via three buttons on the instrument panel. The buttons give the car three distinct temperaments: Pure, Hybrid or Power.

  • In Pure mode the car is powered solely by its electric motor as much as possible. The operational range is up to 35 miles (charge depleting range, US certification driving cycle) with zero tailpipe emissions in urban traffic. The range according to the European certification driving cycle NEDC is 45 km.

  • Hybrid mode is the standard setting whenever the car is started. On the NEDC, CO2 emissions are 53 g/km (2.3 L/100 km, 102 mpg US). Using the US certification standards, which include emissions from the production of the electric energy, the combined fuel economy in continuous driving is 50 mpg US (4.7 L/100km). The car has a total operating range of up to 600 miles (960 km).

  • In Power mode, the technology is optimized to create maximum possible power. The electric motor’s instant torque delivery contributes to the car’s acceleration from 0 to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds (0-100 km/h in 6.1 seconds).

The electric four-wheel drive in the XC60 Plug-in Hybrid Concept is activated by pressing the AWD (All Wheel Drive) button. Instead of the mechanical power transfer of conventional four-wheel drive, the central control unit distributes power between the gasoline-driven front wheels and the electrically driven rear axle.

VEA. VEA is a modular range of diesel and gasoline engines. The gasoline versions come with direct injection, minimized internal losses and balance shafts for comfort.

Several levels of turbocharging open up for flexibility that encompasses the whole range from high power and torque variants to extremely fuel-efficient derivatives. In order to cover all customer requirements, certain engines will gain added performance via hybrid drive or other advanced technology.

The modular format is based on a standard of 500cc (30 cubic inches) per cylinder for optimum thermodynamics. It could also be used to develop three-cylinder engines. VEA offers several advantages:

  • The number of unique parts is reduced. This promotes manufacturing efficiency, quality assurance and efficiency of new development projects.

  • The new powertrains are considerably lighter than present engines with similar performance.

  • Fuel economy is improved by up to 35% compared to engines with similar performance.

  • Modularity and compact transverse design are also ideal for future electrification developments.



Thank God we're not getting the diesel here in the US! I don't know what I'd do if I had to drive 900 to 1000 miles on a tank of fuel. But, of course I must subtract 12% of that to be comparable in CO2 output to a gas version.


This looks like what the Volt should have been. I want one.


That is higherst possible redundancy - two autonomous systems (complete and fancy ICE and electric powertrain).


This will probably cost more than the extended range 2012 Tesla Model S BEV. A 2014 Model S will probably do 500+ Km instead of 380 Km between charges. That could be enough to meet most buyers need without using any liquid fuel.

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