Volvo revo­lu­tion stop-starts

The Swedes are go­ing for diesel hy­brids, re­ports PAUL GOVER

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

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.

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