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The Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid: A Sell-Out in Europe, Unavailable Here

It’s really a shame that Volvo doesn’t have a hybrid car in the American market, because the company has led the way on environmental initiatives (including cleaning up factory pollution) for decades. And it was a pioneer in electrics and hybrids, too. The problem is that—until recently—none of them actually reached the market. But now the company is fielding both the C30 battery electric pilot program and, in wider distribution, Volvo’s V60 Plug-In Hybrid.

Volvo’s plug-in hybrid was in New York recently for the auto show, as a candidate for 2013 World Green Car of the Year. It didn’t win—the Tesla Model S did—but at least it’s getting noticed.
Europe Only

The battery-enhanced V60 isn’t coming any closer than Europe, and for an explanation of that look no further than the car’s diesel engine. Per-Arne Reinholdsson, technical director for the car, told me, “Europe is a diesel market, and having one is an advantage. We wanted to show what we could do with reduced greenhouse gas emissions in a diesel, and the V60 Plug-In Hybrid delivered 48 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer.”

If a Volvo plug-in hybrid comes to the U.S., it will likely have a gas engine, Reinholdsson said. The diesel model is an expensive car in Europe, selling for $74,000—I’d expect any American version would be cheaper, and also benefit from state and federal subsidies (as well as access to HOV lanes). Brits with a 5,000-pound Plug-In Car grant pay the equivalent of $66,512 for the car.


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