back to article Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid: Eco, economy and diesel power

Volvo’s new V60 Plug-in Hybrid is the second vehicle of its type to go on sale in Blighty after the Toyota Prius Plug-in, which we drove and reviewed last year. The Volvo, however, has the potential to be of more interest to prospective e-car owners. Why? It can drive further and faster using just electricity than the Toyota, …

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57mpg?

You were getting 57mpg? Personally I'd save myself ten grand and buy the V60 D5 SE Lux (61.4mpg).

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Re: 57mpg?

But you can't plug the D5 SE into a mains socket every night to improve that figure, you can with the V60 Plug-In.

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Re: 57mpg?

"..with all the plug-in charge used and running in Hybrid mode, I was getting around 57mpg"

My bad - I read the above as "using plug-in charge" rather than "plug in charge used up". (Is it still Hybrid mode if there's no charge left?)

Still, it'd be interesting to see how the costs stacked up overall.

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Re: 57mpg?

IIf you were planning to do lots of short run commutes it gets rid of the other enemy of diesels - the DPF

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Re: 57mpg?

I read it that way too.

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Re: 57mpg?

That is I too read it as if they used charger when they could but now I see that figure was after having used up all charge and not charging more. The figure is quite impressive then.

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Windows

Re: 57mpg?

Save even more and get a petrol car and drive it gently. 1.4 VWs seem to get that at the mo. Or just get a small-engined diesel. My 1.4hdi Peugeot will get 80mpg on a run at lorry speeds.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: mpg not the only factor here

The important difference is that your shitty cheap-ass French 1.4 does not have the ability to actually go when you need it to.

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How Much?

I know it's a hybrid, but as a Yorkshireman, how much does it cost to run the thing on electric only?

i.e. if I'm lucky enough to have a round trip within the 30 mile limit, how much does it cost to charge the battery up from the mains over night? I'm curious what the pence per mile is from an electric charge is in comparison to a fuel only car.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: How Much?

That's going to be entirely dependent on your energy tariff at any given time of day. Once you know how much you are you are paying then working out the cost of charging the battery in this is or any other electric car (or your phone or laptop) is pretty straight forward.

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Re: How Much?

@AC

Okay so my tariff is per KWh, so how many KWh does it take to charge this car then?

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Re: How Much?

Battery capacity is 11.2KWh,

Assume 12p per KWh electricity costs & 80% charging efficency

So to charge from flat is approximately £1.68.

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Re: How Much?

So £1.68 to achieve a range of about 30 miles. Isn't that about the same price as half a galon of fuel, which would take the car just about as far... So no real cost benefit in running it, batteries that are at most only good for 10 years, and it costs an extra 10k upfront, even with a government subsidy.

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Re: How Much?

£1.40 / litre

4.5 litres in a gallon

£6.30 a gallon

£3.15 for half gallon

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Re: How Much?

But as a Yorkshireman you will appreciate a tory government giving £5,000 subsidy to people buying an electric car that they can top up using electricity from foreign coal because to subsisie the British coal industry would be wrong

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Subsidise the British Coal industry?

There was a time when government didn't so much as "subsidise" the British Coal industry but acquiesce to its every demand! That said, we went too far the other way which is why we have 300 years of coal still in the ground and hardly any of it being exploited...

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Re: How Much?

In Europe the price is about 2 euros pet 100 km +-20%

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Subsidise the British Coal industry?

"we have 300 years of coal still in the ground and hardly any of it being exploited..."

Don't know if you're aware of this, but the privatised successor to the NCB, UK Coal, went bust recently, and by some miracle of City financial magick, is now owned by the UK Pension Protection Fund.

Trebles all round, eh what! Three cheers for privatisation!

The underfunded miners pension scheme was short of £500M or so, according to the FT an even bigger shortfall than the £300M or so shortfall at Nortel Networks. The £300M is subject to massive variation depending on when you look and what you believe - I've also seen £2bn and more reported in nominally reliable sources.

The miners will likely see a 25% pension cut. The almost 40,000 Nortel (and related) pensioners still don't know what they'll get (the company went into administration in January 2009).

There's an article for someone (not me) to write on this subject. It'd be more relevant to more readers here than articles on recruiting qunts for the City.

Mostly irrelevant to those entering employment in recent years anyway, where the option of defined benefit schemes simply doesn't exist.

http://www.nortelpensions.com/

http://www.professionalpensions.com/professional-pensions/news/2239774/nortel-mediation-collapses-leaving-uk-scheme-emptyhanded

http://www.employeebenefits.co.uk/benefits/pensions/supreme-court-overturns-nortel-and-lehman-pension-ruling/102611.article

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Anonymous Coward

Re: How Much?

The 30 mile is under optimum conditions. In the winter the battery won't be as efficient and once you start running electric heaters and suchlike it will rapidly decrease.

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Boffin

Re: How Much?

As an ex-Yorkshireman, if everyone was to only run their cars on coal (remember that 'leccy has to come from somewhere) who pays for the roads? The current major source of funding is fuel (read petrol) tax. In fact are the Pious types using the roads without paying at the moment.

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soo...yet again, we are using 200 kilos of batteries to cart about itself and 200 kilos of engine, or vice versa.

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Anonymous Coward

If I don't need ...

If I don' need 0 to 60 in 6 seconds (and apart from Clarkson-worshippers, who does), is there a more realistically priced version in the pipeline?

This does look like progress. But that price (even for a posh Volvo)...

Anyway, it's a Volvo estate. How well will it do with a caravan behind?

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Re: If I don't need ...

• 1,800 kg towing capacity

• Up to 280 horsepower working at the same time

• Up to 640 Nm of torque

& 4WD

Should pull a pretty big van very well. If only I could afford one, and over-come my anti-Volvo prejudice...

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Re: If I don't need ...

I believe this model is advertised as being a tower (1800k). Whether its a caravan, boat or anything.

All I need now is 43K.

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Re: If I don't need ...

As a matter of fact, yes, there is something similar and cheaper. The Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4 is pretty similar (although not plug-in). And is a lot cheaper. The Citroen DS5 is similar, too.

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Re: If I don't need ...

It's not a tower if it's front-wheel drive (which it is after you run the battery down). Also this whole random "can't tell if it's currently front, back or 4WD" thing does concern me: in dodgy conditions (snow, rain after a long dry spell or just plain thrashing it) it makes a big difference where the power is coming from.

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Re: If I don't need ...

If you don't need 0-60 then buy a 1.4litre diesel Peugot 107 get 65mpg and do less harm to the environment than topping this up from coal fired power stations.

And it costs about the same as the govt backhander to buy this

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TRT
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Re: If I don't need ...

I managed to add on enough options to get it up to £53k! Still want one, though.

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WTF?

Re: If I don't need ...

"It's not a tower if it's front-wheel drive"

Really? So the only cars that can tow a van are BMWs , mercs and some supercars?

Clue - this isn't the 1970s. FWD tows quite nicely in 2013.

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Re: If I don't need ...

Very nice car and id be tempted if not for the 43k. A top of the line mondeo diesel with similar trim spec (but lower engine spec admittedly) would be over 15k cheaper. 15k will easily be cheaper than the savings made by running electric only over 5 years. I imagine a battery change would cost an arm and a leg too. Wonder what the warranty is on the batteries. Ive not looked it but im sure ive seen freelanders and audi a4s headlining cheaper than 43k too.

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Re: If I don't need ...

(missed the edit time)

with regards to adaptive 4wd,the car will do a FAR better job than you deciding what wheel to power! Have a test drive of a quattro or volvo in the snow and ice and see for yourself. Very slick.

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MJI
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Re: If I don't need ...

Still not as a good as a good RWD car.

I have seen Rover 800s struggling

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Re: If I don't need ...

@Danny 14

I was about to type the same. It's invisible, and gets it right.

Most of the motoring shows bang on about not being able to turn the traction control off, despite most drivers not being good enough to drive without all of the aids on and humming. It's the same here, for most situations I am not a good enough driver to thing "er, RWD, no FWD, ehhhh, AWD" and press buttons.

Can my XC70 do all I need? Could my old A4 Quattro do all I needed? Yes. And I live on a farm. Down a muddy track. Off a side road that never gets cleared unless we get a tractor out to do it. Could a proper SUV with more user-controlled-stuff do better, well, yes, but I don't need it.

I think I am one of the few AWD owners that actually drives on mud and slurry on a daily basis. The car just deals with it (as did the Audi beforehand), just as it deals with being on the motorway. I can deal with just doing the basics. It's all I am good for, again the meatsack is the weakpoint.

If you are a highly skilled driver that can think faster than the computer then yes, there's a point. But most drivers are nowhere near good enough to do that.

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Re: If I don't need ...

Passat Estate: 2,200 kg but only w. min. 2.0l TD and 4WD

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Analysis Please

What is the impact to the fuel economy of the diesel motor from carrying around those (how many?) kilograms of batteries and electric motor? How much extra energy is consumed in the production of said batteries and electric motor? What is the relative energy transfer efficiency of the full production & supply chain for the diesel fuel and electricity?

I'm making no political points, I'm just wanting an objective scientific comparison.

Please.

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Re: Analysis Please

200kg about 3 adults?

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Re: Analysis Please

200kg about 3 UK adults. 1 US, 1/2 Fijian, 6 models but more importantly 200 packs of linguine.

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Ogi

It also isn't ugly!

Sorry, but IMO the vast majority of electric/hybrid cars really look ugly (and I include the prius in that). Some of them seem to be designed maximaly for the "look at me, I'm green!" impression. Others look like plastic toys. It all makes it look somewhat gimmicky.

It is refreshing to see a car that, well, looks like a car. Apart from the badges, you would not be able to tell what the car is from the outside. And it looks pretty nice as well.

If I were interested in electric/hybrids, and had money to burn, this would be the first I would actually consider buying.

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MJI
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Re: It also isn't ugly!

That is what I thought, you don't look like a twat.

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Coat

Re: It also isn't ugly!

The car pictured is particularly dreary in its grey suit. It looks like a dull car for dullards who want to spend a damp weekend in Dull, Perthshire.

Volvo do some really nice vibrant colours - the red and blue are particularly lovely. Please, for the love of all things great, don't buy a grey or silver car. I know you don't have to look at it when you're sat inside it, but everyone else who does is at risk of falling asleep just looking at it.

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Mushroom

Re: don't buy a grey or silver car

But if you do- put your fucking lights on when it's foggy out!!!

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Happy

Re: don't buy a grey or silver car

Being a Volvo, you don't have to worry about putting the lights on.

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Trollface

Re: It also isn't ugly!

@ElNumbre

Have you ever been to Dull, Perthshire? It's really nice in the summer.

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Re: It also isn't ugly!

I like my cars ugly - why should I pay for other people to enjoy them? That would be stupid and vain and as I am sitting in the car when using it I dont actually give a shit what it looks like on the outside.

Except to find it in the car park of course.

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Re: It also isn't ugly!

If everyone thought like you then everything would be ugly grey and boring.

I'm glad that's not the case....

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Anonymous Coward

10k over the standard car ?

That's an awful lot of diesel. Without even bothering to calculate I'd wager that's likely more than you'd save via the improved economy over the lifetime of the car. And can someone tell me about how long these batteries last and how much they cost to replace ? Early Prius must surely be getting to replacement point by now.

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Re: 10k over the standard car ?

Average UK Diesel cost is £1.40/litre of £6.356/Imp Gallon.

Regional variations apply.

£10k would buy you 1573 gallons, which at 50miles/gallon would take you 78665 miles.

So you need to save 1573 gallons (or do 78665miles on electric-only) to break even on Diesel.

Only electricity costs money so depending on tariffs it'll be a bit further to break even as you're still not getting those miles free. I can see duty cycles where you would get break even (or if the company gives you a car allowance but you're paying for your own fuel), but not for most people.

I have to say my commute is about 15miles, but I occasionally have need of long North-South motorway drives, ruling out an all-electric unit. I reckon I could get my daily drive for the cost of electric, and would only need to put diesel in when I did a long run, which would be a big ongoing saving. Assuming the batteries are happy with that sort of repeated deep drain cycle, which if they're designed for hybrids they're probably not (more aimed at constant charge pulses from braking and short drains for pulling away from the lights).

If they did a cheaper version with less performance/all-electric endurance that gave a quicker pay-back time but offered some solid savings for those people doing regular 10-15 mile journeys in urban areas then I reckon uptake would be much improved.

Electric is fantastic for the city - lots of torque off the line at the lights and not burning electric or fuel whilst parked in traffic (good for the wallet), with plenty of braking cycles to recharge, and an engine for the odd trip to the country. And low emissions, which is never a bad thing in congested areas.

I don't see the point in hybrids for big cars trying to eek a few extra MPG on motorway trips - that's already the most efficient drive anyway, so you're into diminishing returns.

It seems at the moment we have the options of all-electric, or big engine augmented by electric.

I'd have thought for most people in towns and cities doing lots of urban driving you want to turn that on it's head - a base electric unit (10-15miles) augmented by a small generator for extended range.

Also, props to Volvo for making it look like a car you would actually want to own and be seen it.

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Re: 10k over the standard car ?

Petrol and electricity costs, measured as pence per kilowatt-hour, have followed similar trends since I started analysing my bills in 2009. From 2009 through 2011 electricity stayed around 1 p/kWh more expensive than petrol. Since then electricity prices have risen more than petrol: during the first half of 2013 petrol has averaged 13.65 p/kWh while electricity has averaged 16.95 p/kWh.

I use supermarket petrol and have a 3 year fix on electricity. The conversion factor I use assumes a litre of petrol contains 9.7 kWh of energy.

So, any cost saving from running an electric or hybrid car is entirely down to the efficiency of the engine. A petrol engine is about 25% efficient. If we assume 80% efficiency for battery charging and that an electric motor is also 80% efficient, the overall efficiency of battery electric systems is 64% so, with electricity costing 20% more than petrol, you might save 20% on fuel costs for a pure electric car compared with a petrol one. A petrol hybrid will, of course, save less and the savings will depend on the amount of pure electric driving you do.

I don't track diesel prices so can't do the same calculation for diesel cars, but would point out that, while an electric drive train is around 40% more efficient than a petrol one, the efficiency gain for diesel is at best 24% because a diesel engine is more efficient than a petrol engine (up to 40% efficient).

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Re: 10k over the standard car ?

"The conversion factor I use assumes a litre of petrol contains 9.7 kWh of energy."

Yes, but even the best automotive engine is only going to get 3-3.5kWh hour out of it.

Atkinson cycle or single speed optimised (or both) will push that a little higher. I assume the Volvo uses some form of valve timing to achieve atkinson-like(*) operation when power isn't needed.

(*)Atkinson is a modification of otto cycle, one could argue that diesel is otto without the spark.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 10k over the standard car ?

@rh587 try a chevy Volt/Vauxhall Ampera. It does exactly what you have on your wish list.

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