Continuing our dive into some of our favorite Fully Charged episodes, we were excited to uncover this review of a rather unique PHEV – the diesel-based Volvo V60 D5 PHEV wagon.
While a diesel-based plug-in hybrid might sound odd, we must think back to life before the VW dieselgate scandal. Pre-dieselgate, diesel had been successfully branded as “clean diesel,” boasting fuel efficiencies that put gasmobiles to shame. The pairing of “clean diesel engines” and an electric motor was a logical pairing — the best of combustion engines rolled together with cutting-edge plug-in hybrid tech into a cutting-edge, green powertrain.
Then dieselgate happened, VW was exposed for cheating on emissions tests, and most major automakers were similarly exposed for real-world emissions exceeding results achieved in formal emissions tests.
Back to the V60 PHEV, it includes relevant, useful driving modes like “Save” mode, which saves battery charge and makes use of the combustion engine, as well as the converse, “Pure” mode, which runs the vehicle purely off of batteries in electric-only mode. In light of impending legislation in cities across Europe banning combustion vehicles in city centers, having the option to run off of 100% electricity will likely come in helpful in the near future.
This PHEV comes equipped with classic Volvo features like adaptive cruise control that many drivers are looking for when coming to the Volvo brand, well known for being a leader in automotive safety. On top of that, the engine stops at idle, which in addition to saving fuel, makes intersections a bit more peaceful and quiet, which is a feature I have grown to appreciate in our electric vehicles.
The PHEV label covers a wide swath of interpretations of what a PHEV is – from the electric Volt with 53 miles of all-electric range that essentially has a gasoline generator as a backup to the Audi A3 e-Tron that is essentially a gasoline-powered vehicle with a very submissive electric drive that is only capable of 16 miles of all-electric range. This Volvo seems to fit somewhere in between.
While it may not cut out all of the emissions related to driving, this PHEV will help many urban drivers to cut down on visits to the petrol station in a way that doesn’t require much change to lifestyle other than plugging in at home. PHEVs have long been seen as the bridge to full electrification of vehicles, as they allow for a transition to electric driving, educating drivers along the way about just how easy it is to plug in and save a lot of fuel. As with most PHEVs, that plug does not support rapid charging, with a max rate of 5 kW.
The Volvo V60 D5 PHEV wagon leverages the diesel engine to power the front wheels and the electric motor for the rear wheels, which makes the total package an extremely flexible all-wheel drive vehicle. When paired with Volvo’s reputation for safety, this is a special bonus, as it allows the car to maintain an unusually strong grip on the road, even in snowy and icy conditions … as one would expect from a car built in Sweden, land of ice and snow.
I came away from the video impressed by this svelte wagon but a bit dismayed that it still guzzles diesel, which might make it harder to swallow for families looking to minimize their negative impact on the planet. Enough rambling from me, though … check out the video below and let us know what you think. Is the V60 D5 PHEV a hit? Would you buy it?
If you’re looking to buy a Tesla, feel free to use my referral link (here) to save $1,000, which is the only way to get a discount on a new Tesla.
All images by Kyle Field | CleanTechnica
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