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Volvo strikes deal for plug-in hybrid cars

Mon, 01 Jun 2009 00:00:00 -0700

Volvo Plug-in hybrid

By Peter Adams

Motor Industry

01 June 2009 17:15

Volvo has taken its next step towards green motoring, launching a joint venture with Swedish energy company Vattenfall to introduce plug-in hybrid cars to the market – sporting CO2 emissions as low as 50g/km.

The cars, which will role out across Sweden in 2012, will be manufactured by Volvo, with Vattenfall developing the charging systems and supplying the cars with electricity. Vattenfall will be offering customers the chance to sign an agreement for renewable electricity sourced from windpower or hydropower.

In summer 2009 Volvo will present three V70 estate plug-in hybrid demonstrators, providing feedback for the final production cars.

That old hybrid chestnut… Volvo claims the lithium-ion battery will take five hours to charge fully from a standard wall socket. But the battery is also topped up every time the car’s brakes are applied.

Volvo is yet to decide which of its production models will receive the new plug-in tech. What is almost certain is that they will cost more than conventional petrol and diesel models, owing to the high cost of the battery.

The new range of hybrid Volvos will use around one third of the fuel of a conventional diesel-powered car, claims Volvo, with carbon dioxide emissions of only 50g/km. Quite how they will achieve such a low figure with established technology in big, heavy and safe cars remains to be seen.

Volvo insists its high-efficiency diesel engine, which is designed to run on renewable synthetic diesel, will meet extremely stringent exhaust regulations.

President and CEO of Volvo Stephen Odell said: ‘I would go so far as to say that the plug-in electrical hybrid we will launch in 2012 will be a true dream car.’ Quite a claim.

By Peter Adams