As Americans become more enamored of cleaner diesel cars, major automakers like Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, VW, Chevrolet and Jeep are introducing exciting new cars with awesome oil burning engines. But why haven’t automakers merged diesel power with hybrid technology? It is mostly a case of demand. Diesel are just becoming hot in the U.S., thanks to increasing prices at the pump. But adding hybrid power to a car generally bumps price by several thousand dollars. Combine that with the extra cost of a diesel engine (compared to a gas engine), those other costs make automakers weary of the potential sales numbers.
But in Europe, where diesels cars are the norm, and hybrids are slowly catching on, there are a few car companies experimenting with the diesel+hybrid mix. Peugeot was first to market with the 3008 diesel hybrid car, which can get up to 62 mpg. Citroen has the DS5 Hybrid. And Volvo has followed up with their own plug-in hybrid diesel, the V60 wagon. I love the idea of a torquey engine paired with a hybrid for city commuting.
The Volvo V60 Diesel Hybrid wagon is the first plug-in hybrid diesel. It has a 215 horsepower turbo diesel engine powering the front wheels, and a lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 11.2 KwH connected to the rear wheels. That battery provides up to 68 more horsepower. The entire hybrid set-up gives the V60 a 0-60 time of 6.1 seconds, and a range of over 550 miles. In full hybrid mode, the V60 can provide more than 50 mpg, which is fantastic in a very spirited car. Unfortunately, the U.S. won’t see this car as Volvo isn’t importing it. Time to pray to the car gods…