Volvo is introducing a series-produced plug-in hybrid as early as 2012. Pure electric power from the battery will cover the daily transport needs of 75 per cent of European drivers. For longer distances, an efficient diesel hybrid engine automatically takes over when the battery energy levels start to run low. The total combined range is approximately 745 miles, whilst carbon dioxide emissions will be less than 50 grams per kilometre, with fuel consumption of up to 148.6 mpg.
Volvo is convinced that in the future, customers will continue to want safe, comfortable cars with good driving dynamics and generous load-carrying ability, irrespective of whether they are powered by electricity or other fuels.
Plug-in hybrids are an attractive alternative offering the driver the best from both electric power and conventional drivelines: extremely low fuel consumption and CO2 levels, combined with a long range and high performance.
Volvo plug-in hybrid advantages:
Electricity is highly suited as a car fuel. The electric motor has a high efficiency rating and consumes about one-fifth as much energy as a corresponding engine running on fossil fuel. Volvo's plug-in hybrid cars will be propelled by a robust electric motor that receives its power from a lithium-ion battery and additional electricity is generated every time the car brakes.
The battery is conveniently recharged at home via a regular wall socket. Electricity as a fuel is far cheaper than petrol or diesel, which results in low operating costs. The battery will take about five hours to recharge.
The range will be about 745 miles, just like in a conventional diesel car. It will be able to be driven up to 31 miles on pure electric power and when running on the battery, emissions from the exhaust pipe will be non-existent. If the battery is recharged using electricity from renewable sources, the net emission of CO2 will be close to zero, even in a lifecycle perspective. Volvo's dealers will offer customers who buy a plug-in hybrid a special contract for the supply of renewable energy. This agreement has been created in cooperation with the company's partner, Swedish electricity supplier Vattenfall.
To complement the electric motor, one of Volvo's fuel-efficient diesel engines will also be fitted under the bonnet. It will be optimised to run on renewable synthetic diesel and will meet the tough forthcoming exhaust emission requirements.
The diesel engine can be run separately or in combination with the electric motor for optimal power and energy utilisation. For example, the diesel engine can support or replace electric power at high speeds or when the battery charge drops, while the electric motor can offer additional torque at low engine revs. Being able to combine these two power sources makes it possible to offer high performance and trouble-free use by the owner.
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