2009 Volvo V70 Plug-in Hybrid Demonstrator

2009 Volvo V70 Plug-in Hybrid Demonstrator

Struggling Swedish automaker Volvo announced back in June that it will releasing a new plug-in hybrid vehicle by 2012 as the latest step under its ‘DRIVe Towards Zero’ eco-campaign. Late last month Volvo CEO Stephen O'Dell reaffirmed the company's plans to get the diesel-electric plug-in hybrid on the road, and now the automaker’s U.S. chief has revealed that advanced Volvo plug-in hybrids and diesels will be coming to North America--eventually.

Volvo’s U.S. chief, Doug Speck, has revealed that his company will add diesel models and plug-in hybrids, as well as more fuel-efficient gasoline models, to its U.S. lineup in an effort to meet tougher fuel economy standards.

"It's unclear ultimately what percentage of each is going to drive the industry," Speck said in a recent interview, speaking of the corporate average of 35.5 mpg required by 2016.

Factors Volvo needs to address include fuel prices, now and into the future, the general interest levels in hybrids and the level of government support offered.

Speck wasn’t willing to confirm a local launch date for any new Volvo plug-in hybrids or diesels in the U.S. but reaffirmed that the automaker will launch a plug-in hybrid in Europe by 2012.

Until the new spate of plug-in hybrid and diesel technologies arrives, however, Volvo will busy itself with a range of other improvements, including direct injection and more efficient gearboxes.

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