The Volvo Hybrids

The new PHEV claims a combined fuel economy of 150 mpg. This figure is highly generalized, depending on a number of factors, but does show a concern for fuel efficiency. How is this possible?

For starters, the V60 carries a 12 kWh battery pack. This is a huge pack for a hybrid, not quite the size of the Chevy Volt's 16 kWh, but big enough to provide driving on electric mode for more than just a few miles, as with most Hybrid EVs these days. The battery packs are mounted so as to give the car a near perfect 50/50 weight distribution, enhancing handling of the car.

The V60 can be placed in an electric only "Pure" mode enabling electric only driving for some 30 miles. Electric power is provided by a rear mounted 50 kW motor giving a 62 mph electric only top end. It is interesting that Chevy Volt drivers have found that electric only mode is often all they need.

On the other end, the "power" mode syncs up the 215 hp diesel engine with the electric motor. The combination gives the car a zero to 60 mph acceleration time of under 7 seconds.

The "default" driving mode leave choice of power up to the computer. The car will select the best programmed combination of electric/diesel for road conditions.

The car features electro-mechanical AWD configuration. Besides the usual front wheel drive, the system employs the rear electric motor as part of the system to provide power to the rear wheels in low friction situations.

Test drives at the time are limited, but reviews are all positive. Volvo quality at work. The company reports that the V60 is basically a test platform for mode hybrid models.

Volvo hybrids include the SUV model PHEV XC90 and station wagon model XC60.

The seven seat XC90 is the latest to the Volvo EV lineup. The XC90 features the new XC90 T8 Twin Engine.

The Twin Engine has a 318 hp 2.0 liter gas burner and 87 hp electric motor for a total system power of some 400 hp, torque of 472 ft-lbs. Electric only range is given as 17 miles thanks to a 9.2 kWh battery pack. Battery chemistry is a 96 cell Lithium Manganese Oxide-Nickel Manganese Cobalt/Graphite affair.

The rear axle mounted electric motor has 3 functions: a generator for charging the battery; electric traction drive; and power boost. Performance is 0-60 in just 5.6 seconds.

CO2 output is given as 49 grams per kilometer, or 79 grams per mile, not bad for a rig this size. The SUV starts at $68,000 in the USA.

The Volvo XC90 PHEV - starting at $68,000