2 June 2009

Volvo Car Corporation—the Swedish Ford subsidiary—announced it will launch a diesel electric plug-in hybrid (PHEV) car by 2012. The vehicle will be based on the existing V70 model. Three Volvo V70 PHEV demonstration cars are to be presented in the summer of 2009. However, the final PHEV will feature somewhat different technology than the demonstration vehicles, noted Volvo.

The current PHEV prototypes charge in five hours using an 8 kW battery and can travel 50 km (31 miles) on a single charge. In order to cover longer distances, the car will also be equipped with one of “Volvo’s fuel-efficient diesel engines”. This diesel engine is designed to run on renewable synthetic diesel and will meet forthcoming “extremely stringent exhaust regulations”, presumably Euro 6. With the car running on electricity, the fuel costs are reduced to about one-third compared with diesel power, according to Volvo.

CO2 emissions from the PHEV are expected to be less than 50 g/km (NEDC test). It is unclear if this figure also accounts for any CO2 emitted during production of electricity. In several European countries, a variety of tax incentive programs will be introduced over the next few years. Cars that emit less than 50 g CO2/km will probably be granted the most favorable tax incentive status.

Volvo formed an industrial joint venture partnership with Swedish energy company Vattenfall to introduce plug-in hybrids on the market. Volvo will manufacture the cars, while Vattenfall will develop charging systems and supply the cars with electricity. Vattenfall will, among other things, test various concepts for high-speed home charging and also for charging stations in public places. Vattenfall also plans to offer customers the opportunity to sign an agreement for renewable electricity sourced specifically from windpower or hydropower.

Source: Volvo Cars