Volvo says plug-in hybrid model goes into production in 2012

Volvo V60 Plugin Hybrid ghost view

Ghost view of the major electrical components of the Volvo V60 Plugin Hybrid

Volvo Car Corporation announced today that it will a put plug-in hybrid Volvo V60 into production and on sale to the general public in 2012.

The Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid concept debuted earlier this year in near production-ready form. The production version of the Volvo S60 sedan’s station wagon equivalent will combine a diesel engine with the electric motor and battery pack.

The Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid—that’s its official name— will be able to travel up to 50 kilometers (about 30 miles) on battery power alone, somewhat less than the Chevrolet Volt, the plug-in hybrid (Chevy calls the Volt an “extended range electric”) from General Motors.

Volvo V60 Plugin Hybrid instrument panel

The Volvo V60 Plugin Hybrid instrument panel features a central speedometer with a battery charge gauge (equivalent to a fuel gauge) on the left and estimated kilometers range on the right.

Volvo places the V6- Plug-in Hybrid’s maximum range on combined battery electric and diesel operation at an impressive 1200 kilometers (720 miles). Furthermore “carbon dioxide emissions will be an average of 49 grams per kilometer (NEDC EU Combined certification driving cycle) and fuel consumption will be 1.9 liters per 100 km.” That’s about 125 miles per gallon of diesel fuel.

The Volvo V60 plug-in hybrid is the result of close cooperation between Volvo Car Corporation and the Swedish electric supplier Vattenfall, the two companies forming a joint venture creatively named V2 Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle Partnership AB.

Volvo didn’t announce where the Volvo Plug-in Hybrid would be sold, however distribution in the United States is improbable at best. The company does not offer any diesel-powered vehicles in the U.S. and Stateside sale of the V60 was discontinued with the introduction of the 2011 Volvo S60. (Although wagon sales have traditionally been a Volvo strong point, the introduction of the Volvo XC60 supplanted V60 sales volume here).

Volvo also did not provide a price, although did say that the “cost of the battery pack means the plug-in hybrid will be more expensive to buy than a Volvo V60 with a conventional engine.” Volvo made an economic case for the V60 Plug-in Hybrid, however:

“[F]uel costs will be one-third compared with a conventional combustion engine. The cost of running on electricity in Sweden has been calculated at about 25 kronor (EUR 3.0) per 100 km. The exact cost will vary from one market to another.”

Volvo says a full recharge of the battery pack can be done from the standard home electric outlet—at the European standard 220 volts—in five hours.

Meanwhile, work continues on a full-electric Volvo C30 with Ener1, a New York-headquartered company that according to its own description “provides commercial-scale clean technology solutions for the transportation and grid energy storage markets globally.” The partnership with Ener1 allowed Volvo to jumpstart its electric car development.  Volvo didn’t need to develop expertise already available from Ener1.

Volvo says the Volvo C30 Electric can go about 90 miles on a single charge, and recharge of a fully-depleted battery takes eight hours on American house current, though alternative charging strategies are being investigated with the expectation of getting that down to the two hour range in the future.