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A plug-in hybrid is also in the works, but no timeline has yet been setEnlarge Photo
The DRIVe concepts at Volvo's booth previewed what the company will be doing to enhance its current lineup for efficiency and low emissions, but the future of the company lies in more advanced technology. Launching down the path of what the company calls "an aggressive roadmap for cutting CO2 emissions," Volvo will be starting the plan with a micro-hybrid in 2011, followed by a plug-in hybrid in 2012, reports Edmunds.
Volvo detailed the new system in a written statement. "[The micro-hybrid powerplant] can be used in combination with both a manual and automatic transmission. It also provides the driver with the additional flexibility to restart the engine immediately, even if the car has not yet come to a complete standstill, by simply pressing the accelerator. This situation could occur when approaching and joining a roundabout where power is required instantly to take advantage of a gap in the traffic." Earlier this year Saab and Volvo partnered to develop new hybrid technology, and Sweden announced that it was working with the U.S. government - via Volvo - along the same lines.
Also joining the lineup in 2012 will be a diesel hybrid. Volkswagen showed what was possible with the simple combination of diesel and hybrid drive in its Golt TDI Hybrid concept earlier this year, but unlike Volvo, VW won't be going forward with production of such a car in the immediate future. Featuring a variant of the D5 five-cylinder turbodiesel engine, the diesel hybrid is expected to get a form of propulsion not unlike the Peugeot/Citroen HYmotion4 system debuted in Paris this week. The diesel engine will drive the front wheels, while the electric motor will drive the rears. It's not yet clear if the car will feature AWD - both systems working in conjunction - or merely alternate FWD and RWD, though the possibility for AWD certainly exists, and Volvo is known for its AWD solutions.
The plug-in hybrid will be targeting cars like GM's Volt and Toyota's Prius plug-in, though it will be joining the market somewhat later than the competition. With a standard household plug-in and a full-size battery pack, charging is expected to take place overnight to yield an electric-only range of up to 62mi (100km). A plug-in hybrid concept, based on the C30 hatch and dubbed the ReCharge Concept, was shown last year in Frankfurt. The final production car will likely take cues from that vehicle's design, though it will likely be built around a different body style.
On the near horizon, Volvo will begin delivering a new generation of its four-cylinder turbocharged engines in 2009. Combining direct injection with turbocharging in a petrol engine, the cars are designed to optimize displacement to produce maximum output while remaining efficient. Volvo estimates that while the new engines will emit 20-30% less CO2 and improve fuel consumption by the same amount, performance will be unaffected. The engines expected to first debut the new technology, called GTDi, will be 1.6L and 2.0L units rated at about 150hp (111kW) and 200hp (149kW) respectively.