Volvo revolution stop-starts
The Swedes are going for diesel hybrids, reports PAUL GOVER
SWEDEN’S safe-car company is going green. Volvo is about to hit the eco button with its first stop-start fuel savers and is planning full-scale production of a plug-in hybrid with a diesel engine.
Its longer-term goal is to be a leader in green vehicles with zero emissions, culminating in plug-in electric power.
The C30 DRIVe model will lead Volvo’s push for zero emissions, and the first cars will be in showrooms in September. They have a stop-start system similar to the one in the Smart ForTwo and the forthcoming Land Rover Freelander II.
Eventually there will be a full range of DRIVe models. Volvo has produced seven for Europe, from the C30 to XC70, with CO2 emissions as low as 104g/km.
‘‘At this stage we can’t confirm specification or pricing but should be in a better position to announce details by August,’’ Laurissa Mirabelli of Volvo Cars Australia says.
By 2011 the DRIVe program will see a directinjection petrol turbo engine with fuel economy and emissions cut up to 30 per cent, and a nextgeneration micro-hybrid with stop-start.
But the big breakthrough comes in 2012 in the form of a plug-in hybrid, previewed this week in Sweden in a V70 stationwagon.
‘‘We’re investing more than $15 billion to investigate plug-in hybrids. They will be a reality from 2012,’’ Mirabelli says.
‘‘Ideally, we’ll also have them here within 12 months of production. The aim is economy of 1.9 litres/100km.’’
Reaching those targets means using a diesel engine in the drivetrain. Most European brands are promising some form of diesel hybrid although the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight hybrids available here use petrol.