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Up Close and Personal with the Volvo XC60 Plug-in Hybrid (w/ video)

Volvo’s XC60 plug-in hybrid “concept” was built to explore America’s reactions to a hybrid Volvo. The company has been developing its “green” technology for years in Europe, with stop-start technology, fully electric sporty coupes, and what the company calls a “world’s first” diesel-electric hybrid in series production – not to mention a number of prototypes running around fitted with advanced flywheel KERS systems – but those advanced cars may not be right for the US market, according to Volvo’s CEO.

According to Volvo, the US market wants a gasoline hybrid. “The gasoline plug-in hybrid is ideal for the American motorist who wants an electric car while, at the same time, retaining all the power and capacity that comes in his or her present vehicle.”

OK, then!

Despite rumors suggesting that some of the 6000 diesel Volvos getting built this year may make it to this side of the Pond as 2014 models, development of Volvos gasoline-electric hybrids continues. This XC60 (which shares much of its chassis with the S60 sedan and upcoming V60 wagon) combines a new 280 HP turbocharged 4-cylinder engine based on Volvo’s modular “VEA” platform with a 70 HP electric motor mounted at the rear of the car. With 350 combined HP and 100% of the electric motor’s torque applied to the rear wheels at launch, the XC60 plug-in can scoot to 60 mph in just 5.8 seconds (3 tenths quicker than Porsche’s Cayenne S Hybrid), all while giving back an estimated 50 MPG using the EPA’s certification standards.

Of course, the XC60 plug-in hybrid can be driven in “Pure” mode as a ZEV electric. In that mode, the car has a 35 mile range – good for most people’s commutes and following the same type of thinking behind the Chevy Volt and Toyota Prius plug-ins.

You’re still thinking about that 5.8-second run, right? I am, too. You can check out Volvo’s official promo video, below …


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