Volvo V60 Plugin Hybrid Is this Swedish cruiser all the car …

2 Май 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Volvo V60 Plugin Hybrid Is this Swedish cruiser all the car … отключены
Volvo V60 Electric Cars

Fuel economy

155.2mpg combined (Europe)

CO2 emissions | range

48g/km (Europe) | 560 miles

Availability

Europe, North America late ’14

Volvo describes the V60 Plug-in Hybrid as three cars in one. A solely electric car, moving silently under the power of its compact electric motor; a versatile hybrid car, blending power from both the engine and electric motor as economically as possible; and a performance car, deploying startling firepower from both power sources to all four wheels.

On paper Volvo is telling the truth. In Pure mode a maximum electric range of 31 miles will allow most owners to comfortably commute without emitting a single molecule of carbon dioxide, nitric oxide or any other harmful particulate. This is particularly true for those with workplace charging options, as a full charge takes four-and-a-half hours, yet in Power mode the driver can open the taps on nearly 300hp.

This Jekyll and Hyde persona means that people in the city don t hear the big Volvo coming whilst others out on the open road often don t see which way it went. The V60 Plug-in Hybrid is both the fastest and cleanest Volvo ever built.

But on paper the V60 Plug-in Hybrid also manages 155.2mpg in European fuel economy tests, a figure that even Volvo admits is a pipe dream for buyers, so there s clearly some discrepancy between theory and reality. But how big a discrepancy?

Please proceed as normal

The V60 Plug-in Hybrid always starts in the middle of its three selectable drivetrain settings – Hybrid mode. If you ve programmed the car to pre-heat itself while plugged in (something you can do via smartphone) it will also start warm, which, apart from making the those leather seats considerably more inviting on a frosty morning, means that battery power isn t wasted using the car s heaters.

Set off, driving respectfully, and the V60 Plug-in Hybrid switches between using its 2.4-litre five-cylinder diesel engine to power the front wheels and the electric motor that sends power to the rear seemingly on a whim, and spends more time using only the latter than you might expect. Call on more power than the 70hp electric motor can provide or travel at speeds when it becomes more efficient to use the engine and the turbodiesel grumbles into life. The crystal clear TFT instruments show the driver the ever-moving threshold where one power source takes over from the other, but in Hybrid mode it s best to pay it no attention and drive as you would.

With engine stop-start technology, regenerative brakes and, in comparison to plugless hybrids, an enormous battery, fuel economy in Hybrid mode is excellent as long as you don t flex the diesel engine s muscles too much.

The switch for Hybrid mode is flanked by two further buttons on the transmission tunnel Pure and Power. Both modes allow the driver to take matters into his or her own hands and treat the V60 Plug-in Hybrid as either a pure electric car or a fast estate car. Unsurprisingly the two setups feel so far apart that you wouldn t credit them as coming from the same machine.

Does three go into one?

Three does go into one, and all modes can work well together, but only if your personal circumstances match Volvo s expectations. If so, you probably commute fewer (or at least not much more) than 30 miles on weekdays and occasionally undertake long journeys with your family and all the necessary luggage. You may also appreciate understated but elegant car design, being something of an aesthete, and share a concern for the environment.

You ll also be pretty affluent.

Comfort and safety are a given in a Volvo estate, and while it may not ride as smoothly as a Mercedes-Benz C-Class, or have as prestigious a badge on the grille, the V60 Plug-in Hybrid is a polished product and desirable in its own right. Just about every optional extra Volvo offers comes as standard, although a further £1,200 is required for the full complement of Volvo s famous safety technology. Attractive, fast, comfortable, practical and safe, there are enough reasons to buy the V60 Plug-in Hybrid before even considering its world-beating environmental credentials.

The V60 Plug-in Hybrid only has one real weakness, which reveals itself when the battery is completely discharged and you find yourself regularly undertaking long journey s at speeds of 60mph or higher. Weighed down by all that hybrid hardware, even its low rolling resistance eco-tyres can t help it surpass 50mpg. Moreover, run out of electricity on shuddering urban routes and you ll be lucky to exceed 35mpg.

Bottom line: give the V60 Plug-in Hybrid the charge it craves whenever possible and do more short journeys than cross-country marathons. If you can t meet either of those demands then look elsewhere.

Because of the complex technology and the way these cars computers execute it, it s also very difficult to say how efficient a plug-in hybrid car is in the real world. Undertake a journey using electric power alone and of course you ll achieve the equivalent of hundred upon hundred of miles per gallon. Run a plug-in hybrid using only the combustion engine, however, and fuel economy is often disappointing, so it s all about making the two work together as best you can.

On typical British A roads – that s to say gently undulating at speeds of between 45mph and 60mph – we switched from pure electric power after twenty miles and introduced the diesel engine for a further twenty, moving into Hybrid mode. After those 40 miles the V60 Plug-in Hybrid had achieved just over 80mpg, a figure far out of reach of the most efficient non-hybrid estate cars, let alone any with this much power. After another twenty miles in Hybrid mode that figure would have probably dropped to around 50mpg, however, and after 100 miles the advantage of having a battery pack and electric motor would be all but lost.

To reiterate: big miles are still best left to cheaper, lighter non-plug-in hybrids and efficient diesels.

Volvo V60 Electric Cars

Where the V60 Plug-in Hybrid really appeals is that it s so easy to live with. You ll soon fall into the habit of quickly plugging in it (via a port behind the front wheel) after you ve parked on your drive or in the garage before heading to your front door. Furthermore, you quickly realise that – at least in this writer s case – the vast majority of day-to-day journeys are fewer than 25 miles, at a rate of one or two journeys a day.

Many days, perhaps a week, will pass since you last burnt any meaningful amount of fuel yet, for all of this time, you ve been driving around in a Volvo estate, one of the homeliest devices ever conceived. The next day you could drive the length of the country in the a biblical thunderstorm and arrive safe, on time and utterly unflustered. This is the charm of the Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid.

However, your own personality will also play its part in whether the V60 Plug-in Hybrid is a good fit. After you ve used Power mode once it becomes a constant temptation, and using it all the time renders the car a bit pointless. Put your foot down and the moment of hesitation we re accustomed to as an engine s turbocharger spools up and the gearbox drops a cog is still there, but now that space is occupied by immediate, torque-rich power from the electric motor.


The effect is that the driver and any passengers are simultaneously jolted back into the seats, which is no exaggeration. Using both power sources together and at maximum … drains the battery fast and kills fuel economy, but the V60 Plug-in Hybrid is temporarily transformed into an all-wheel drive warm-wagon capable of mixing it with some very fast cars. Used sparingly, and primarily as a means of shocking something big-engineed and German, Power mode is merely another competent string to the car s impressive bow.

Exceptional for the time being

Even with the UK s £5,000 government plug-in car grant this particular V60 comes in at £44,275 (c. $72,000). That s roughly £8,000 more than the car on which it s based, the V60 D5; a car that will return superior fuel economy on long motorway runs, set free of the hybrid s 250+kg weight penalty. But the V60 D5 isn t as fast as the plug-in hybrid, nor is it as clever, versatile or economical during everyday use.

In fairness, not much else is. The equally adroit Chevrolet Volt isn t half as refined as the Volvo, while rivals from Ford, Toyota and even Porsche can t match the V60 s electric range. Nor can they fit two chocolate Labradors in the boot.

Like the Range Rover Hybrid. the price tag means this Volvo is more an example of what our automotive engineers can achieve in the future. Both the technology it uses and way it s packaged are beautifully executed. What s now required is a doubling of battery range and prices comparable to less enlightened models in the Volvo range.

That said, lack of electric range and a high price hasn t stopped Volvo from having to almost double European production volumes to 10,000 for 2014.

In 2014 the opposition will catch up with Volvo. Mercedes will likely introduce a plug-in hybrid version of the new C-Class and BMW will begin to rollout an entire range of plug-in hybrids. For now, however, nothing touches the V60 Plug-in Hybrid, which would fit into most lifestyles with ease.

It s probably the best car in the world.

Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid: Is this Swedish cruiser all the car you would ever need? Richard Lane 2014-01-16 4.5 The world’s first luxury plug-in hybrid is a superb machine if you play to its strengths. More electric range would be welcome and will come in due course.

For now, this Volvo offers massive real-world fuel savings for those who primarily undertake short journeys but want and need the security of a safe and practical car.

Volvo V60 Electric Cars
Volvo V60 Electric Cars
Volvo V60 Electric Cars
Volvo V60 Electric Cars
Volvo V60 Electric Cars
Volvo V60 Electric Cars
Volvo V60 Electric Cars
Volvo V60 Electric Cars
Volvo V60 Electric Cars

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