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Volvo V60 PHEV still on Australian radar

Innovative: The Volvo V60 is a diesel-electric hybrid car that can also be charged from an external power source.

A sell-out in Europe, the Volvo V60 plug-in diesel hybrid is still on track for Oz

3 Oct 2012

VOLVO Cars Australia (VCA) is confident the sell-out success of its ground-breaking V60 PHEV plug-in diesel hybrid in Europe will not dent the car’s chances of launching here in 2014.

The Swedish company this week announced that its inaugural batch of 1000 V60 Plug-ins for the 2013 model year had sold out before even reaching showrooms, and that order books for the 5000 units to be produced for MY14 were already filling up.

Nevertheless, the company’s local arm remains keen to secure a portion of these MY14 models for the Australian market, where it would headline the V60 wagon range currently comprised of conventional petrol and diesel engines.

VCA public affairs manager Oliver Peagam told GoAuto that plans were still in motion to import the car – billed as the world’s first diesel-electric vehicle that can also be charged from an external power source – with a likely launch in 2014.

“That’s certainly the plan and intention,” he said. “We’re currently going through all the due diligence and the local business case on it, but certainly the intention is that we’d very much like to get that car here.”

18 center imageLeft: Volvo V40 Cross Country.

The V60 PHEV combines a 160kW/440Nm five-cylinder turbo-diesel engine and the front and a 52kW/200Nm electric motor at the rear, the latter powered by a 11.2kWh lithium-ion battery installed under the boot floor.

The battery can either recharge like a traditional hybrid via the motor and regenerative braking, or can be plugged in to a wall socket or external fast charger.

This system is conceptually similar the forthcoming Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, except the primary power source is a diesel engine rather than a petrol.

Fellow Euro brand Peugeot also sells a pair of diesel hybrid vehicles in Europe, but unlike the Volvo these cannot be charged externally. As we reported last month, neither Peugeot Hybrid 4 vehicle will launch here, due to issues with the Australian heat.

Combined fuel consumption for the V60 is listed as just 1.8 litres per 100km in full hybrid mode, but the car can also travel as much as 50km on electricity alone before the engine kicks in. The zero to 100km/h standing sprint is dispatched in a brisk 6.1 seconds.

The production V60 PHEV is differentiated from the standard models by its new paintwork, 17-inch alloys, integrated tailpipes, glossy black grill, aerodynamic front spoiler and unique badges.

The interior is mostly standard V60, but includes a Volvo-first fully-digitised Driver Information Monitor, which sees the traditional analogue gauges swapped for a one-piece LED screen. Drivers can also ‘communicate’ with the car via a smartphone app.

Meanwhile, another model on VCA’s radar is the high-riding Cross Country compact crossover based on the forthcoming V40 small hatchback, which made its world debut at last month’s Paris motor show.

The car is a strong chance to slot into the range below the popular XC60 compact SUV from next year, allowing the company to capitalise on booming crossover SUV sales Down Under.

Mr Peagam told GoAuto that, as with the V60 PHEV, the business case was still being worked on but that VCA had its hand up for the car.

As we reported last month, the rest of the V40 range will touch down in showrooms from February next year, giving Volvo a rival for the BMW 1 Series and high-end Volkswagen Golf variants. The launch line-up will also include the hot 187kW T5 R-Design flagship.

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