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Published on January 11th, 2012 | by Seán Ward

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Volvo XC60 Hybrid Concept

Volvo’s latest hybrid offering is the new X60 Concept, unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The X60, unlike most hybrids, it not just supposed to provide you with good fuel efficiency, but give you three separate cars: an electric vehicle, a fuel efficient hybrid and a high performance car.

This triple-personality vehicle is achieved by giving the driver three buttons on the dash: Pure, Hybrid and Power.

Pure powers the car on the electric motor only, giving it a range of just over 28 miles.

Hybrid – the default setting – as you would expect, uses both the electric motor and the engine, giving a range of 600 miles at a fuel efficiency of 100 mpg – a very impressive figure for a big, 4×4 hybrid.

Lastly, power uses both the engine and the electric motor, but both are ‘turned up’ to provide the most amount of power.

The four cylinder turbocharged 2 litre engine will therefore produce 280 bhp and 380 Nm, and the electric motor will produce the equivalent of 70 bhp and 200 Nm, meaning a 0-60 mph time of 5.8 seconds.

The lithium-ion batteries can be fully charged in three and a half hours from a conventional plug.

Volvo’s ‘Sensus’ system gives the driver almost any information they need with regard the car and its efficiency, so it will inform the driver of the most economic route, low emission zones, charging station locations and quick charge points.

Also on the dash is a ‘Save’ button, which keeps a reserve of battery power if the driver knows that they will need battery only power later on, so no matter how hard you go with the accelerator, there will always be a charge left in the battery which is good for around 12 miles.

Unlike more conventional hybrids, the XC60 has no starter motor or alternator. Instead, Volvo engineers have designed an Integrated Starter motor and Generator (ISG) connected to the crankshaft. The ISG is capable of delivering an extra 45 bhp while accelerating, and allows the battery to charge under braking.

Stefan Jacoby, Volvo’s CEO, said: “The technology in the XC60 Plug-in Hybrid Concept is as ingenious as it is unique.

“You can make really green progress on the road without compromising on any of the luxury car’s renowned properties.

“No other manufacturer has succeeded in delivering fuel economy and electrical range on this level in a capable, spacious performance car with 350 horsepower on tap.

“This world-class petrol plug-in hybrid technology, featuring a state-of-the-art four-cylinder engine from our upcoming Volvo Environmental Architecture engine family, will reach our American showrooms in a couple of years. However, it is too early to say which model will be the first to feature this solution.”

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