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PHOTO CAPTION: Volvo V60 electric hybrid.

Volvo Now Taking Orders in Europe for V60 Electric Hybrid

The V60 diesel plug-in hybrid will sell for the equivalent of $80,947US, and comes fully loaded at the highest trim level available.

Published: 05-May-2012

No Ford hybrid has ever been sold in Europe, and the Lexus HS isn't available either. But here's one hybrid Americans won't be driving: the Volvo V60 diesel plug-in hybrid. All German brands sell diesels in America, and there's no reason why Volvo shouldn't either. Europeans see it as the best of both worlds: the most fuel-efficient ICE, and a green plug-in hybrid.

The diesel is a solid five-cylinder turbocharged unit, giving it 215 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque, while the electric motor is a 51 kW affair, with 148 lb-ft of torque. In comparison, the Nissan LEAF's motor produces 80 kW and 207 lb-ft of torque. The V60 is about 400 pounds heavier than a LEAF, probably due to its SUV-configuration.

But this Volvo has other virtues. First, it's a four-wheel drive. The diesel sends its power to the front wheels, whereas the electric motor works with the rear wheels. This set-up should provide better traction on snow, or for fast cornering. At very least, this hybrid should also be much more fuel-efficient than the standard diesel V60 model. This car really puts the driver in control.

Driving as an hybrid, there are two modes: the normal mode, where the car minimizes the use of the diesel engine, and a power mode for the best performance. There's also a "Save" button which tells the car to not fully discharge the battery, after a long highway trip, the driver can switch to the pure electric mode for the last few miles returning home, driving silently through the neighborhood.

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