Volvo To Compete With Volt & Prius

volvo-plug-in-hybrid-photo.jpgVolvo Car Corporation may be up for sale, but that’s not stopping them from attempting to develop one of the most fuel efficient plug-in diesel hybrids on the market. Volvo Cars Chief Executive, Stephen Odell, announced earlier this summer that Volvo engineers are now working in partnership with Swedish power utility Vattenfall and battery manufacturer ETC to have the newly designed vehicle on European roads by 2012.

In my opinion, jumping from plans to develop a hybrid car by 2012, to designing a plug-in hybrid that utilizes a diesel-powered motor and lithium-ion battery pack is a big leap for Volvo and its’ engineers. I’d guess this one is going to be a couple of years beyond that.

Using a lithium-ion battery won’t come at a cheap price to consumers; however, with a 30-mile battery life and less than half the CO2 emissions of the best hybrids on the market, Volvo is hoping that government subsidies and incentives will make purchasing one a little easier on consumer piggy banks. The current Volvo V70 prototype uses an 11.3kWh battery back, which would add about $10,000 to the price tag of a standard Volvo. However, Odell stated that they are hoping prices will come down once they downsize the battery to more efficiently meet consumer needs.

The V70 plug-in hybrid is not the first plug-in to be developed by Volvo. Since 1992, Volvo has recognized the importance and opportunities available in the hybrid industry. In 2009, the flex-fuel plug-in Volvo Recharge was released housing electric motors in each wheel. The new demonstration model will however be totally different, sport two battery charge ports with an estimated two hour charge time. One port located at the front for home charging, and the other under the fuel cap for public charging stations.

With a car that can be charged from a standard wall socket and at a cost one-third that of a regular diesel engine and one-fifth that of a gasoline engine, Volvo is confident that their partnership with Vattenfall will significantly reduce emissions and fossil fuel waste. “We are very excited about what we are doing here…this will take the automotive sector to the next level,” said Vattenfall CEO, Lars Josefsson. Vattenfalls partnership guarantees Swedish customers that the power coming into their home and being used to charge their vehicles is in fact green electricity.

Known for its’ safety, functionality, and style, Volvo hopes to have a fleet of diesel plug-in hybrids roaming Swedish and European roads by 2012. There are other plug-in’s slated for arrival in the next couple of years, including the Chevrolet Volt and Toyota Prius, so Volvo appears ready to jump into the game and compete on a whole new level. I hope it happens, and then we’ll see if they bring those “dieselectrics” to the states.

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