The Big Three automobile makers have all announced plans to release plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV) in the coming years, but Volvo’s PHEV plan is a first–the Ford-owned brand is working on the world’s only diesel hybrid in an attempt to increase fuel economy and produce fewer greenhouse emissions. Instead of developing a new car, Volvo will make a plug-in version of an existing vehicle.
The PHEV, currently in development through a partnership between Volvo and Vattenfall, won’t be released until 2012. But three Volvo V70 demonstration cars tweaked to work as PHEVs will hit the road this summer so that Volvo can test driving habits and preferences. Vattenfall plans on using the prototype data to develop a public charging and billing system infrastructure.
As of right now, the plug-in demonstration vehicles charge in five hours using an 8 kw battery and can travel 31 miles on a single charge–statistics that Volvo hopes to improve before the final product is released. But the car emits an impressively low amount of carbon emissions: 50 g/km, compared to 90 g/km for European subcompact vehicles. No word yet on a potential release date, but Volvo says that its PHEV will feature somewhat different technology than what is displayed in the demonstration vehicles.
[Via The Car Connection]
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