Volvo will showcase its latest plug-in hybrid technology in the new 2012 XC60 Plug-in Hybrid concept car at next week's Detroit auto show.
The Swedes have been developing a range of plug-in hybrid cars, using both petrol and diesel. The hybridised V60 which goes on sale in Europe later in 2012 uses diesel, whereas the new SUV drinks from the green pump.
Volvo XC60 Plug-in Hybrid concept car: the lowdown
The new XC60 show car uses the latest Volvo powertrain technology; the company is turning its back on five- and six-cylinder engines to focus on downsized four-pots, so the XC60 plug-in has a 276bhp petrol turbo.
It's mated to a 69bhp electric motor for a total range of 600 miles. Drivers can pick between three modes:
• Pure All-electric mode, good for a zero-emissions range of around 30 miles
• Hybrid Mix of petrol and electric power, Volvo claims 53g/km of CO2
• Power Unleaded guzzle mode, with a fulsome 345bhp
Volvo claims 0-60mph in 5.8sec – achieved when the 276bhp petrol engine is working in tandem with the e-motor. Drive is sent to the wheels through an eight-speed gearbox. It's badged as a T8 to reflect the fact that it is as powerful as a V8.
Diesel hybrids add considerable cost to production, but won't appeal in markets where unleaded rules. Volvo openly admits the XC60 Plug-in Hybrid is designed to appeal to China and the US.
Will Volvo actually build the XC60 Plug-in?
No date has been set for production yet, but the chief executive of Volvo said the technology would be launched by 2014. The Swedes are adding hybrid packs across the range.
Volvo isn't alone in developing petrol and diesel hybrid technology. After the Japanese pioneered the technology with petrol only, European brands are now moving in with derv know-how. Jaguar Land Rover is working on both kinds of hybrid, as is Peugeot Citroen for its Hybrid4 system.
'The technology in the XC60 Plug-in Hybrid Concept is as ingenious as it is unique,' said Stefan Jacoby, president and CEO of Volvo Car Corporation. 'You can make really green progress on the road without compromising on any of the luxury car's renowned properties. No other manufacturer has succeeded in delivering fuel economy and electrical range on this level in a capable, spacious performance car with 350 horsepower on tap.
'This world-class petrol plug-in hybrid technology, featuring a state-of-the-art four-cylinder engine from our upcoming Volvo Environmental Architecture engine family, will reach our American showrooms in a couple of years. However, it is too early to say which model will be the first to feature this solution.'