Volvo is set to unveil its XC60 Plug-in Hybrid Concept at the North American International Auto Show next week. The company touts the vehicle as an electric car, a highly economical hybrid and a powerful high-performance car all rolled into one.
It’s powered by a four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine from the forthcoming VEA (Volvo Environmental Architecture) engine family, with 280 hp and 380 Nm on tap, mated to a newly-developed eight-speed automatic transmission driving the front wheels.
The rear axle of the vehicle is driven by an electric motor producing 70 hp and 200 Nm, with juice provided by a 12 kWh lithium-ion battery pack installed under the floor of the load compartment. The battery pack is rechargeable from a regular power outlet, and at 220V and 12A takes just 3.5 hours for a full charge, while at 110V/12A this goes up to 7.5 hours.
The XC60 Plug-in Hybrid Concept’s electric all-wheel drive system is activated by pressing the AWD (All Wheel Drive) button, but instead of the mechanical power transfer of conventional four-wheel drive, the central control unit distributes power between the petrol-driven front wheels and the electrically-driven rear axle.
Three operation modes are available for the car – Pure, Hybrid and Power. In Pure mode, it runs on fully electric mode, with a driving range of 45 km. Hybrid is the standard setting, while Power delivers the maximum power through combined powertrain operation.
The driver can choose to save battery power for later in order to drive on pure electricity at a chosen point. When Save is activated, the generator charges and tops up the battery pack, if necessary, ensuring that there is always sufficient battery power for about 20 km of driving on electricity.
The Detroit debutant, which will carry a “T8″ badge to emphasise the combined 350 hp of the four-cylinder engine and the electric motor, will come dressed in a special white colour and wear 21-inch wheels.
Inside, the cabin will feature unique detailing and colours such as sober dark-blue leather upholstery and inlays of blue-grey wood. Meanwhile, the instruments have been tailored to give the driver all the necessary information about petrol and electricity consumption, battery charge level, remaining range and so on.