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Detroit Auto Show 2012: Volvo plugs in a three-way hybrid


Detroit Auto Show 2012: Volvo plugs in a three-way hybridFor its space at the Detroit Auto Show, Volvo has replaced the glorious wagons it once sold on these shores with this concept: the XC60 Plug-In Hybrid concept that Volvo vows is three, three, three cars in one.

We spill no secrets when we say electric vehicles will be a big part of the Detroit show, yet most of them travel no further than the show floor turntable due to the high costs and limited range. Volvo's idea is to use the flexibility of a battery pack to let drivers pick a personality:

  • In "pure" mode the XC60 is powered solely by a electric motor up to 35 mph, when a 280-hp, four-cylinder engine kicks in.
  • In "hybrid" mode, the standard choice,  the electric motor and gas engine work together for maximum efficiency, reaching 50 mpg and a range of up to 600 miles.
  • In "power" mode, the extra 70-hp from the electric motor acts as a booster for the gas engine, allowing the XC60 to scoot to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds.

The XC60 can also put back 12 miles into its batteries from energy from its gas engine, and the batteries take about 8 hours to charge from a regular U.S. outlet.

Volvo hasn't said the XC60 will go into production, but it is building a V70 plug-in hybrid for Europe. It's reception in Detroit may decide if and when it comes here.