First Look: Volvo XC60 Plug-In Hybrid Concept

Eleanor Hanson

Consumer auto shows are great places for car shoppers to go to gauge what products are available or will soon hit the market. These shows, held in metropolitan areas across the country, also feature numerous concept vehicles from various manufacturers. Concept vehicles often don’t come to the market as shown, but its styling cues, engineering features and technological enhancements oftentimes do.

Concept PHEV

At major auto shows across the country, Swedish automaker Volvo is making its presence known. This company, known for its innovative safety measures and forward-thinking engineering, is currently displaying the Volvo XC60 Plug-in Hybrid Concept, an all-wheel-drive crossover SUV that may change the way you look at hybrids and plug-in vehicles. Read on for details about this progressive product.

Volvo is touting the XC60 PHEV concept as three cars in one. That claim seems plausible as this CUV is designed to operate in three driving modes via buttons for Pure, Hybrid or Power located on the instrument panel. Each mode offers distinct advantages and can be selected to sync with your driving conditions.

Drive Modes

When operated in “Pure” mode the XC60 is powered chiefly by its electric motor as much as it is possible. As such, the CUV’s electric-only operational range is for up to 35 miles with absolutely no tailpipe emissions in urban driving.

The default “Hybrid” mode automatically kicks in whenever the CUV is started. Both the gasoline engine and electric motor are at work, providing the best mix of gas and electric driving. EPA numbers are not yet available, but according to the European certification driving cycle this vehicle gets the fuel economy equivalent of over 100 mpg. Look for closer to 50 mpg when this vehicle is taken on a long trip — its total cruising range is thus extended to 600 miles.

The third choice is the CUV’s “Power” mode, which provides unbridled power when needed. Under this arrangement, the gas engine shoulders the brunt of the work and this capable powerplant has the goods to show for it, delivering 280 horsepower and 280 foot-pounds of torque. The electric motor is no slouch too as it makes 70 hp and 148 foot-pounds of torque. Need to get on the highway fast? This CUV does it in style, accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.8 seconds.

Turbocharged Four

What may surprise Volvo enthusiasts the most is that the gas engine found underneath this concept’s hood is a turbocharged four cylinder engine. No V-6 power is needed — this engine has been optimized to deliver the most power from the fewest number of cylinders.

The Volvo XC60 PHEV has been designed to plug-in to a standard household outlet for recharging. With a standard 110-volt outlet, recharging should be accomplished in 7.5 hours. For faster recharges, a 220-volt outlet cuts that down to just 3.5 hours.

Market Plans

Will the XC60 PHEV come to market? It is expected to and should arrive in American showrooms by 2014. When it does hit the market, crossover fans may find this CUV too hard to resist — a five-passenger model that is fuel efficient and minimizes its emissions output.

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