Volvo Car Corporation and Swedish energy company Vattenfall have announced a joint venture partnership aimed at marketing a new plug-in hybrid in 2012 that will match electric power with a range-extender diesel engine. An extension of their 2007 joint venture to develop and test various plug-in technologies, the firms plan to build this as-yet-undisclosed line of vehicles in Sweden. As a first step in the run-up to formal series production, three Volvo V70 station wagons will be used for public demonstration/evaluation purposes starting this summer. While admitting customer cars will feature a slightly different hybrid package, Volvo says the information gathered from now will help it fine-tune the volume-build versions to specific buyer requirements. Under terms of this co-financed operation, Volvo will manufacture the vehicles and Vattenfall is to develop a dedicated charging system and explore innovative ways to generate electricity, including by tapping into wind and/or hydro sources.
Like the Chevy Volt, these new Volvo plug-ins will be directly driven by an electric motor powered by an advanced Lithium-ion battery pack. Capable of running about 30 miles in pure EV mode, they'll use their diesel range-extender engines and regenerative braking for on-the-fly replenishment and require about five hours to complete a full recharge from any standard home electrical outlet.