Volvo S60L Plug-in Hybrid Shown in Beijing

The Chinese market is an important one for Volvo, and the company has revealed a new Volvo S60L PPHEV (Petrol Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) concept at the Beijing auto show. This long-wheelbase, plug-in hybrid version of the S60 sedan will go on sale in China in 2015 and will be produced at a new Volvo plant in also in China.

Chinese automaker Geely bought Volvo in 2010, with production beginning in China last fall. Volvo currently has three production facilities in China in Daqing, Zhanjiakou, and Chengdu, the latter of which will build the S60L plug-in. This hybrid is likely to remain a China-only proposition, as Volvo already sells a V60 Plug-in diesel hybrid in Europe and will be bringing a Volvo XC60 plug-in hybrid to the U.S. sometime within the next few years.

This hybrid model is based on the extended Volvo S60L sedan that is already offered exclusively in China. It has a 3.1-inch longer wheelbase that offers more space in the rear seat. Compared with the standard S60L, this plug-in hybrid concept features a matte white exterior color with contrasting blue accents, and a brown leather interior with contrasting stitching and chrome accents.

Its hybrid system uses similar technology as the existing Volvo V60 plug-in hybrid, but replaces that model’s diesel engine with the 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline four-cylinder that’s part of Volvo’s new Drive-E family of engines. This engine partners with a 68-hp electric motor and an 11.2 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, all routed through an eight-speed automatic transmission. A similar plug-in hybrid powertrain, also using a Drive-E engine, will be coming to the U.S. when the Volvo XC60 plug-in hybrid crossover goes on sale here within the next few years.

The S60L plug-in hybrid operates in three different driving modes: Pure, Hybrid, and Power. Hybrid mode is the default mode and combines the gasoline engine with the electric motor like conventional hybrids. Pure mode runs the car in electric-only mode, which allows for a range of up to 31 miles on a full charge, and Power mode operates similarly to hybrid mode, but focuses less on fuel efficiency and more on putting the entire system’s power to the wheels. In this mode, the Volvo S60L plug-in hybrid gets from 0-62 mph in an estimated 5.5 seconds. There is also an all-wheel-drive mode that uses the electric motor in the rear axle in combination with the gasoline engine that powers the front wheels, and the driver can also choose to save the car’s battery power for later electric-only driving.

The Volvo S60L plug-in hybrid concept can be charged on a normal European 10-amp outlet, and a full charge takes 4.5 hours. Moving up to a 16-amp charging outlet reduces the charging time to 4 hours. In hybrid mode, Volvo expects fuel consumption of 2 liters per 100 km, or the equivalent of 117 mpg.

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