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Volvo Plug-In Hits the Road

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Last fall Volvo showed off its ReCharge plug-in hybrid concept at the Frankfurt auto show. Now the Swedish arm of Ford Motor Company says it's going to press ahead with the plug-in program--and in fact, they're already on the road.

C/Net, the car-tech gurus, reports that Volvo's plug-in hybrid is on the road, in a test with the Swedish government. Also hooked into the program are colleagues over at GM's Saab brand and the Swedish power company Vattenfall. Over five years, the companies will field a fleet of 10 plug-in hybrids to evaluate their feasibility. Volvo says it's also going to confirm which of its vehicles will go hybrid during the course of the next five years.

Whatever technology the standard hybrids use, they're likely to be less advanced than the ReCharge. The concept car uses four separate electric motors and a set of lithium-polymer batteries to provide primary motivation. When fully recharged, which takes about three hours, the battery system will provide a range of about 100 kilometers (62 miles) of driving, according to Volvo. Recharging the batteries is a 1.6-liter four-cylinder Flexifuel engine, which cycles on and off as needed and essentially functions as a generator for the system, allowing long-distance driving. When functioning beyond the battery's original charge, on the gasoline engine only, fuel economy is about 43 miles per gallon, though Volvo says that for a 93-mile starting at full charge, the effective fuel economy is 124 mpg.

Volvo's been designated as Ford's hybrid-vehicle specialists, so we're eager to see this in action, along with the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid and other gas-electric cars in the planning stages. But you tell us -- do you think the promise of plug-in hybrids will be fulfilled any time soon? Tell us in a comment below.
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Comments (7)
  1. It's just a stupid CONCEPT. When it's on sale, and not for $40k for a lousy hatchback, THEN you can claim that anything "Hit the Road!!!"
     
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  2. If the average motorist who is considering a hybrid does their homework, they will find plenty of information on hybrids what they really need to dig for and in many cases it is to much of a bother is the following: How many miles do I have to drive before I really begin to save $$ which makes my purchase worthwhile; it's called payback. The second and more important issue is what is the replacement cost of the batteries. Remember if you keep the hybrid long enough to re-coup the additional cost (payback) of the hybrid you will probably have to replace the batteries. According to information on the hybrid Honda's and Toyota's minimum 200,000 miles before you re-coup the expense of the hybrid. At that rate motorist keeping their hybrids for 200,000 miles would slow new car sales and slow the economy even more.

    Manufacturers depend on consumers keeping their cars 4-6 years or less then 100,000 miles, look around at the used cars at the dealers and independent lots how first generation Prius' are on the lots? a few, several, why? if they are the answer why were they traded in , time for new batteries or other expensive maintenance issues?
     
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  3. I want one. NOW!
     
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  4. If it were a Honda Plug-In, Thor'd probably be raving. It may not be perfect but it's another step inh the right direction. Well done Volvo!
     
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  5. "Ted Says:
    March 15th, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    If it were a Honda Plug-In,"

    As usual, Ted does not know what in the hell he is talking about. I have not heard of any plans for HONDA to develop a plug-in, but only from GM first, and then Toyota.

    Personally, I do not give a rat's posterior, since my commute is 1.5 miles each way and I can easily walk it in 20-30 mins each way. I am not going to pay $40k for an overpriced piece of JUNK, a FAKE (small hatchback, not a real one) Volvo (remember when every college prof had one? How come they all drive Accords and Camrys now? "It's the RELIABILITY, STUPID!"
     
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  6. @Thor

    For someone who walks proudly you claim a big deal of expertise on cars.....

    You should remember that Volvo is a european carmaker and that the "fake" hatchback is just about the size that all small, young single household hatchbacks are sold succesfully in europe by BMW, AUDI, etc

    And i would like to quote the economist on their assesment of Volvo: "Apple's are just like Volvo's, you buy one because you can afford one"

    Surely not perfect but they show you have some personality. Which a Honda Accord can not really claim.
     
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  7. I think plug-in type vehicles could prove to be very popular in the future when gas prices increase to $6 or $7/gal or more. In the years ahead, battery technology will improve to bring battery prices down and gas prices have nowhere to go but up. Ford and Volvo are definitely on the right track
     
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