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Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid

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5th December, 2012

Volvo Car Corporation have confirmed an increase in production numbers of the new Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid. After the initial batch of 1,000 model year 2013 cars (which are already all sold), production will increase to 4,000-6,000 cars as of model year 2014.

The assembly of the world’s first diesel plug-in hybrid has been successfully integrated on the same line as the company’s other models at the Torslanda plant in Gothenburg, Sweden.

This is a remarkable achievement considering that the sophisticated plug-in hybrid technology includes two complete drivetrains and a powerful battery that provides a range of up to 50 kilometres on pure electric power.

“We are first in the industry to integrate a plug-in hybrid in an established production flow together with other car models,” says Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President Research and Development at Volvo Car Corporation. “The integration in the standard production flow gives the plug-in hybrid buyer the possibility to choose in principle all options available for the standard V60.”

Over 300 more parts

All the additional equipment and additional systems in the plug-in hybrid have led to parts of the final assembly line being rebuilt and modified. The adaption makes it possible to smoothly integrate the assembly of over 300 more parts that are included in the plug-in hybrid compared to an equivalent V60.

Some examples of the integrated production flow include:

  • The electric motor along with its drive shafts is fitted on the same station as the final drive on the standard four-wheel drive models
  • The cooling system and the high voltage cables are assembled on the Pallet, which is used to assemble the car’s drive train and chassis parts
  • The battery pack is lifted in through the car’s tailgate short side forward. It is then spun a quarter of a turn in the passenger compartment – a manoeuvre that takes 60 seconds and carried out with less than 20 millimetres to spare.

“The 11.2 kWh lithium-type battery is the single most complex system in the car. The precision manoeuvre to get it in place is an excellent example of the state-of-the-art assembly process,” says Peter Mertens.

Increasing demand

The Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid is the synthesis of close cooperation between Volvo Car Group and Swedish electricity supplier Vattenfall. The two companies have financed the development project jointly.

“The V60 Plug-in Hybrid is a unique car, a historic step, not only for Volvo Car Group but for the entire car industry. The first year’s 1,000-car batch was sold out even before the car reached the showrooms and the order books for next year’s cars are already filling up,” concludes Peter Mertens.

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Highest Safety Score Ever for an Electrified Car in Euro NCAP

Volvo Car Group has a philosophy that an electrified car should be as safe as any other new Volvo car. This is now highlighted by the recent Euro NCAP results. The new Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid has achieved the highest-ever score for a plug-in hybrid.

The five stars in the recent test, which included a frontal offset collision at 64 km/h (40 mph), demonstrate that the V60 Plug-in Hybrid has the same high safety level as the standard V60.

“We apply the same high standards to all our products,” says Jan Ivarsson, Senior Manager Safety Strategy & Requirements at Volvo Car Group. “The Euro NCAP score demonstrates that the ingenious V60 Plug-in Hybrid features the same outstanding safety level as the standard car.”

The European rating institute Euro NCAP presents an overall rating for each car model tested. Separate tests are carried out in four sub-categories, which are used to produce an overall grade.

Unique safety approach

The integration of the battery pack and the added weight the batteries make necessitated a unique safety approach during the development of the V60 Plug-in Hybrid. The structure has been modified and reinforced to enable a controlled deformation to help provide a high safety level.

The battery pack in the V60 Plug-in Hybrid is well encapsulated and located under the load floor.

“The Plug-in Hybrid has been exposed to an extensive test programme during the development phase, as all our new car models,” says Jan Ivarsson. “This includes full-scale crash tests with different load cases, such as frontal collision, rear and side collisions to verify that the battery technology fulfils our stringent safety requirements. The V60 Plug-in Hybrid also offers all unique Volvo active safety functions, such as City Safety, Collision Warning with full Auto Brake and Pedestrian Detection.”

Three cars in one

The driver of the V60 Plug-in Hybrid need make no compromise in their motoring by using the car’s three driving modes: Pure, Hybrid and Power. Fuel consumption is just 1.8L/100 km (48g/km CO2) in Hybrid mode (NEDC driving cycle).

In addition, the driver can choose to cover up to 50 kilometres on electric power with zero tailpipe emissions – or release the combined capacity of the diesel engine and electric motor to provide a performance drivers car delivering 215 + 70bhp (160 + 50 kW), 440+200 Nm and acceleration from 0-100 km/h in 6.1 seconds.

Australian availability

The Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid has not yet been confirmed for Australia. Although, the Next Car team does expect a local release in 2014.



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