By Joseph Tohill
Hybrid vehicles have really taken off in recent years as Americans look toward more fuel efficient and environmentally-friendly alternatives to petroleum based transportation. But if there is one lingering complaint to be lodged against hybrid vehicles, it’s that they are not as powerful as many traditional cars.
Volvo has come up with a response to such lingering doubts in the form of a diesel-electric hybrid: the Volvo V60 PHEV, its latest entry into the plug-in hybrid market. With a range of 600 miles per tank of gasoline and 286 horsepower, the V60 is not an automobile to be trifled with.
But how effectively does it straddle the line between power and cleanliness? Will the Volvo V60 be an attractive option in the US market?
I’ll try to answer some of those questions by providing a close-up analysis of the Volvo V60 PHEV.
Volvo V60 PHEV Specs
The Volvo V60 features a 12kWh lithium-ion battery pack with enough juice for 30 miles of city driving (when using only the battery). The battery delivers a 70 horsepower completely emissions-free driving experience.
Fueling the car is a 45 litre (12 gallon) diesel tank that adds torque and power. But the great thing about diesel is that it is a much denser fuel than gasoline. As a result, the combination of electric and diesel power gives the car a fuel efficiency of 149 mpg.
One of the key features of the Volvo V60 is its ability to change between different driving modes. Altogether, there are 3 driving modes: pure, hybrid, and power. Each mode offers a unique driving experience depending on the driver’s particular preferences.
In “pure” mode, the Volvo V60 offers emissions-free driving through its battery. The driver can achieve about 30 miles of range before the diesel engine kicks in. In “hybrid” mode, the car uses both battery and diesel to power the engine, providing the driver with the best of both worlds. Finally, in “power” mode, the driver can unleash the full potential of the car by relying exclusively on diesel. In power mode, the car can go from 0 – 60 mph in 6.9 seconds.
In terms of handling, most initial reviews have suggested the car fluidly shifts between each driving mode. It has excellent handling and enough power to tow a trailer. For individuals looking for a hybrid that features both power and cleanliness, the Volvo V60 PHEV is likely the right choice for them.
Is The Volvo V60 PHEV a Good Fit For The American Market
So far the Volvo V60 has been a prominent showpiece in European showrooms and will likely be a big hit in the European market. However, Volvo’s plans to release the V60 in the US are still unknown. Given the lingering hesitancy some Americans still have about embracing hybrid technology, one would think the Volvo V60 would be a solid choice for US consumers.
My suspicion is that Volvo is waiting to see how well the car does in Europe (where Volvo’s are already a popular choice) before tackling the American market later in 2013.
Joseph Tohill is a freelance writer and online communications specialist for organizations in the sustainability sector. He has a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of British Columbia and spent most of his academic career studying sustainable urban development; namely the interdisciplinary relationship between built form and natural environment.