Volvo steps up production of world's first diesel plug-in hybrid

19 November 2012
By Sofia Mitra-Thakur
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Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President Research and Development, drives the V60 Plug-in Hybrid off the assembly line

Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President Research and Development, drives the V60 Plug-in Hybrid off the assembly line

Volvo is increasing production of its V60 Plug-in Hybrid, the world's first diesel electric hybrid car.

Swedish car manufacturer Volvo has already planned an initial batch of 1,000 cars for 2013, with production increasing to 4,000-6,000 cars for 2014.

The assembly of the V60 Plug-in Hybrid has been successfully integrated on the same line as the company’s other models at the Torslanda plant in Gothenburg.

The plug-in hybrid technology includes two complete drive trains and a battery that provides a range of up to 50km on pure electric power.

“We are first in the industry to integrate a plug-in hybrid in an established production flow together with other car models,” said Peter Mertens, senior vice president Research and Development at Volvo. “The integration in the standard production flow gives the plug-in hybrid buyer the possibility to choose in principle all options available for the standard V60.”

All the additional equipment and additional systems in the plug-in hybrid have led to parts of the final assembly line being rebuilt and modified.

The adaption makes it possible to integrate the assembly of over 300 more parts that are included in the plug-in hybrid compared to an equivalent V60.

The integrated production flow means that:

- the electric motor, along with its drive shafts, is fitted on the same station as the final drive on the standard four-wheel drive models

- the cooling system and the high-voltage cables are assembled on the Pallet, which is used to assemble the car’s drive train and chassis parts

- the battery pack is lifted in through the car’s tailgate short side forward. 

It is then spun a quarter of a turn in the passenger compartment – a manoeuvre that takes 60 seconds and carried out with less than 20mm to spare.

“The 11.2kWh lithium-type battery is the single most complex system in the car. The precision manoeuvre to get it in place is an excellent example of the state-of-the-art assembly process,” said Mertens.

Volvo and Swedish electricity supplier Vattenfall have jointly financed the development project of the Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid.

“The V60 Plug-in Hybrid is a unique car, a historic step not only for Volvo Car Corporation but for the entire car industry,” said Mertens.

”The first year’s 1,000-car batch was sold out even before the car reached the showrooms and the order books for next year’s cars are already filling up.”

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