Volvo’s Plug-In Diesel Hybrid A Swede Deal

In a year that has seen a myriad of electric and hybrid vehicle firsts and innovations Volvo is capping 2011 with the introduction of yet another breakthrough: the world’s first plug-in diesel hybrid, the V60. That’s great news, considering the premium sportswagon’s impressive performance stats. Unfortunately, you’re going to have to live in Sweden (or a few other European countries) to get one. Sales will begin in early 2012, the company said, with delivery expected before the end of the year.

The Swedish automaker is calling the new V60, which is based on the popular S60 model, its most technology adanced car ever, and at $75,218 — about $27,000 more expensive than the conventional S60 wagon – it’s priced like it. For the money drivers will sit on a five cylinder, 2.4 liter turbo diesel engine that is capable of generating 215 horses. The diesel box, however, will power only the front wheels. In back, Volvo has an electric motor pushed by a 11.2-kilowatt lithium-ion battery spinning the real axle. That motor can generate up to 70 horses. Slip the car into “Power” mode, run through the six-speed auto transmission and Volvo says you go from zero to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds. That’s pretty quick.

Volvo-V60

image via Volvo

If you don’t feel like turning the subdivision into a Grand Prix track, drivers can select the “Pure” mode, which uses only the electric motor and offers a range of about 31 miles.  They “Hybrid” mode is standard, uses both motors and has an impressive range of up to 621 miles. A standard charge of the V60 takes about 4.5 hours using a standard, European (230 V) power outlet.

Volvo plans on making only 1,000 of the V60′s initial, 2013 batch. After that, the company promises to start cranking out up to 6,000 per year. Right now, you can have any color V60 you’d like, as long as it’s “Electric Silver.” The interior features black leather upholstery with contrasting stitching and inlays of blue-grey wood. In the cabin, gauges have been replaced by an LED display which can also be interfaced via a mobile phone app.

For its part, Volvo sounds pretty confident about the prospects of the new hybrid. “There is immense interest from the markets,” President and CEO Stefan Jacoby said in a statement. “We are convinced that the first thousand cars will be sold even before production gets under way next autumn.”

Steve Duda lives in West Seattle, WA with three dogs and a lot of outdoor gear. A part-time fly fishing fishing guide and full-time writer, Steve’s work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Seattle Weekly, American Angler, Fly Fish Journal, The Drake, Democracy Now! and many others.