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Volvo Uses XC60 to Showcase Innovative Hybrid System

Concept uses kinetic energy flywheel system to generate power for hybrid system.

by on Jan.09, 2012

Volvo’s Flywheel Kinetic Energy Recovery System adds up to 80 horsepower to the powertrain.

Volvo showed off a unique hybrid system that it says will use the car’s kinetic energy to provide excellent fuel economy while still producing the performance luxury buyers have grown accustomed to.

Volvo President and CEO Stefan Jacoby said the XC60 Plug-in Hybrid Concept it showed Monday at the Detroit Auto Show is first vehicle to combine an all-electric range of about 35 miles, true luxury car performance capability, all in spacious crossover.

“The technology in the XC60 Plug-in Hybrid Concept is as ingenious as it is unique,” Jacoby said.  “You can make really green progress on the road without compromising on any of the luxury car’s renowned properties.”

The powertrain features a new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 280 horsepower with an eight-speed automatic transmission and an integrated starter/generator generating 45 horsepower, driving the front wheels. The second part of the system uses a 70-horsepower electric motor putting power to the rear wheels.

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The system has three driving modes: Pure (all electric), Hybrid and Power. In Pure mode, Volvo said the system is capable of returning 105 mpg equivalent. The driver chooses the mode via buttons on the center console. The company said the combined fuel economy is about 50 mpg, yet the small crossover is still capable of accelerating to 60 in 5.8 seconds in Power mode, which uses the gasoline engine and the two electric motors to produce about 350 combined horsepower.

At the heart of the hybrid system is Flywheel KERS, which stands for Kinetic Energy Recovery System.