Fleet News

First drive: Volvo V60 D5 plug-in hybrid

Volvo
BIK List Price
N/A
Volvo V60 BIK list price
BIK Percentage
N/A
Volvo V60 BIK Percent
CO2
49g/km
Volvo V60 CO2
Combined MPG
148.0
Volvo V60 MPG

Review

Volvo will be a relative latecomer to the burgeoning market when its next eco car reaches British showrooms in 2013.

But the fleet and corporate sectors are unlikely to be disappointed with the Swedish firm’s unique take on diesel-electric motoring.

Based on the familiar V60 sport wagon platform, the world’s first hybrid to blend diesel power with plug-in functionality is already shaping up as a proposition that’s as practical as it is sophisticated.

Although detailed work remains to be completed before production starts up in November next year, Volvo previewed its next green machine in Germany at the Michelin Challenge Bibendum event.

The firm allowed initial road testing of its next green machine to get underway and it soon became clear that this model will have strong appeal as a best-of-both-worlds transport solution.

Producing a combined output of 285bhp and 640Nm torque from its 2.4-litre turbodiesel engine and electric motor, the luxury hold-all adds full-bloodied high performance to the considerable list of advantages of electric and diesel travel.

Despite having stretching space for five adults and their luggage, the big Volvo zips to the benchmark 62mph rate with all the verve of a sports car and reaches 125mph all-out. Yet the fact that it is also able to haul a 1,800kg trailer load means it retains all the virtues of the standard estate.

“Our aim is to provide a car without compromise that is able to take its occupants over long distances in comfort with emissions and fuel consumption figures around half of what is available today. But as most European drivers cover less than 50km a day when they travel to and from work, this model will provide transport that costs just five hours’ charging time from a household electricity socket,” powertrain and platform strategy chief Karl-Johan Ekman told Fleet News.

While the five-cylinder engine powers the front wheels via a smooth six-speed auto transmission unit, the electric motor drives the V60’s rear axle. Three buttons offer the choice of electric, hybrid or the combination of full power from both sources and a central control unit manages torque distribution when all wheel drive is required.

Novel gadgetry also allows the driver to enter trip details in the car setup menu for the control system to work out the balance between diesel and electric power to ensure the best emissions figure for each journey.

How much will the car cost? “The cost of the battery pack means the price will be more than we charge for the standard car, but it is not decided yet. On the other hand, fuel costs should be one third compared with a conventional engine,” said Ekman.

Author: Maurice Glover

CO2 emissions
49g/km is a five star performance for any car, let alone one the size of the V60.
Residual values
Still higher eco credentials should add to the Volvo’s reputation in the corporate sector and enhance the company’s RV performance.
Fuel costs
Mating turbodiesel with electrical power promises remarkable economy potential from such a large car, but the mpg gain over the conventional V60 will need to be viewed in context with the extra cost involved.
Driver appeal
One of the few hybrids that packs a rush of adrenaline with every prod of the accelerator deserves high ratings, particularly as it comes with neat handling and secure roadholding.
FN Verdict
Volvo has still to put the finishing touches to its plug-in hybrid, but the car we drove performed well and carried the stamp of success, even though it is still 18 months away from going into production.
Top Speed
125mph
Volvo V60 Top Speed
VED band
N/A
Volvo V60 Ved
Fuel Type
Hybrid
Volvo V60 Fuel Type
Residual Value
3 Year 60k : N/A
4 Year 80k : N/A
Running Cost (ppm)
3 Year 60k : N/A
4 Year 80k : N/A

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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