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Volvo Cars adds R-Design version of V60 diesel Plug-in Hybrid

Volvo Cars has added an R-Design version of its V60 Plug-in Hybrid, which was has been one of the better selling plug-in vehicles in Europe since going on sale, and currently is in fifth place for the first quarter of 2014.

2015 Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid R-Design. Click to enlarge.

We sold almost 8,000 plug-in hybrids in 2013. Adding the R-Design dynamic attributes to the V60 Plug-in Hybrid—the world’s first diesel plug-in hybrid—will give its attractiveness another boost. The customer gets segment-topping performance combined with outstanding efficiency.

—Alain Visser, Senior Vice President Marketing, Sales and Customer Service at Volvo Car Group

The V60 Plug-in Hybrid R-Design version features a number of unique interior and exterior features that create a sporty presence. The exterior blends the Plug-in Hybrid identification with the R-Design front, rear diffusor and 18-inch ‘Ixion’ wheels. Inside, the car comes with a full R-Design interior design. Sport seats, featuring a blend of black nubuck textile and perforated leather, are standard.

The front wheels of the V60 Plug-in Hybrid are powered by a five-cylinder 2.4-liter turbodiesel producing 215 hp (160 kW) and 440 N·m (325 lb-ft) of torque. The car has a six-speed automatic transmission.

The rear axle is powered by an electric motor producing 68 hp (50 kW) and 200 N·m (148 lb-ft). It is supplied with power from an 11.2 kWh lithium-ion battery pack installed under the floor of the load compartment.

The driver selects the required driving mode via three buttons that give the car three entirely different temperaments: Pure, Hybrid or Power. The driver can opt for up to 50 km (31 miles) on all-electric power or utilize the combined capacity of the diesel engine: 283 hp (211 kW) and 640 N·m (472 lb-ft) of torque.

In the default hybrid mode, the carbon dioxide emissions are down to just 48 g/km. This corresponds to fuel consumption of 1.8 liters/100 km (131 mpg US) on the NEDC certification driving cycle for hybrids.



Attn: hybrid architecture experts (real or imagined)

What say you about this approach (electric motors directly to the opposite end of the main drive) vs a summing input on the main drivetrain? From my perspective I have always thought this has some merit, particularly in a cost-reduced hybrid.

[Note: please no "hybrids are dumb because EVs are already a better answer". Maybe so, but that's a different discussion]


One advantage with this architecture is that it gives a substantial freedom in the lay-out of the car and drivetrain components. First, it leaves the engine compartment more or less untouched. Thus, the engine compartment and lay-out there can be optimized for the conventional ICEs that still comprise the majority of sales (and thus, has highest priority!). Second, the electric drive can be replaced by the flywheel store/drive that Volvo is also developing as another option. Or, perhaps a combination of both can be used due to the relatively small size and low weight of the flywheel (by a simultaneous small reduction in battery size).

From another post on this site we know that the diesel engine in this contemporary version will be replaced by the new gasoline 4-cylinder engine for some markets. Another option, which has already been mentioned by a Volvo executive, is (of course) the new 4-cylinder diesel engine as a replacement for the contemporary 5-cylinder engine. The gasoline engine for the V60 hybrid develops 238 hp and the diesel engines can provide up to ~230 hp (we do not know which version Volvo will choose). Both engines are from the new Drive-E family (called VEA during the development phase) and share many components. With more powerful engines, the R-Design features suits the concept very well.

Volvo have a different approach than, e.g. Toyota, for their hybrids, since they provide much more power and driveability, including 4-wheel drive. Presumably, this will be a smaller niche but I am still surprised that Volvo rank so high in EU sales. In contrast, the Prius plug-in does not sell at all in Europe.

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