Image credit: Fully Charged
While it created initial excitement, the VW Golf diesel hybrid proved too expensive for production back in 2008. Nevertheless, many greener car advocates have been watching eagerly for the possibility of a car that would combine the efficiencies of a diesel engine with a hybrid drive. Late last year, Mike reported on news that Volvo was planning a plug-in hybrid diesel based on the V60. And now a prototype version of that car is hitting the road. And the early signs are good that it will go into production in the not-too-distant future. The always-entertaining Robert Llewellyn got to take it for a test drive.
And he liked what he saw.
While the Nissan Leaf may be outselling the Chevy Volt right now, many people still feel that range anxiety will be a significant barrier for many to purchase an all electric vehicle. So the idea of a diesel plug-in hybrid that can do 25-30 miles in purely electric mode, and still do longer journeys with the combined efficiency benefits of a diesel engine and a regular hybrid too. In fact, Robert tells us, Volvo are expecting drivers to get well over 100mpg in regular usage.
And, for all of those petrol heads who are worried about too little power, the thing can run in "power mode" too for pulling heavy loads or in inclement weather. And because the Volvo V60 Plug-in hybrid has diesel-powered front-wheel drive, and electric-powered rear wheel drive, it actually offers all wheel drive as and when it might be needed.
This really does look like it could be a game changing vehicle. It's nice to see Llewellyn acknowledging the inherent irony of calling any car "eco-friendly" too. All-in-all, a very encouraging episode. The Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid looks set to hit the European market in the Fall of 2012. But for American customers, the news is more mixed—Autoguide reports that the V60 plug-in hybrid will hit American shores in 2014, but with a gasoline engine. Sigh.