Will Volvo's 2012 plug-in hybrid also be a diesel?

The maker of some of the world's safest vehicles will soon be the maker of one of the world's most fuel efficient vehicles.

This photo, taken at the 2007 Frankfurt auto show, shows Volvo's ReCharge it concept, which is a flex-fuel plug-in hybrid that uses in-wheel motors and is based on the C30 coupe platform.
This photo, taken at the 2007 Frankfurt auto show, shows Volvo's ReCharge it concept, which is a flex-fuel plug-in hybrid that uses in-wheel motors and is based on the C30 coupe platform. CNET

The maker of some of the world's safest vehicles will soon be the maker of one of the world's most fuel-efficient vehicles. Volvo announced today plans to produce a plug-in hybrid vehicle that will be available in 2012.

"Most car journeys are short trips, for instance to and from work. We will be able to offer a product that fulfills this transportation need. In order to cover longer distances as well, the car will also be equipped with one of Volvo's fuel-efficient diesel engines," Volvo President and CEO Stephen Odell said in a press statement.

The new development will be a joint venture between Volvo and Swedish energy company Vattenfall. Volvo plans to create a plug-in version of an existing model rather than create a new one, and its charging systems will be developed and supplied by Vattenfall.

Volvo has previously stated its plans for a fleet of 10 plug-in hybrids. The Swedish car company did not name which of its existing cars will be the first to go plug-in, but last year Volvo road-tested the ReCharge Plug-in Hybrid , which is based on the C30 coupe platform and uses a diesel engine to power the lithium ion batteries.

A video on YouTube.com (posted by thecarfanatic.com) shows interviews with Volvo and Vattenhall executives explaining the partnership and features a diesel plug-in hybrid Volvo V70 that can travel up to 50 km (31 miles) on a single charge and be charged from a standard wall socket, which would cost Swedish owners approximately 3 euros per 100 kilometer (60 miles). Based on current currency exchange, that works out to approximately 7 cents per mile. The diesel engine uses 2 liters per 100 kilometer m (.5 gallon per 60 miles), according to the video.

Volvo also announced plans to debut three demonstration plug-in Volvo V70s this summer that will be used to gather information on customer driving habits and technology preferences. Vattenfall will be testing various concepts for high-speed home charging and developing a public charging and billing system infrastructure. The power company is also tasked with accelerating the vehicle's charging time. The video shows a 8 kw battery being charged in 5 hours from a standard wall socket.

 

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