VOLVO is about to unveil what it claims to be the world's first diesel plug-in hybrid car.
Based on the V60 estate, the model is virtually production-ready and will be shown at next month's Geneva Motor Show ahead of a 2012 launch.
The concept of a plug-in diesel hybrid is aimed at giving the driver the best of what an electric and diesel car can offer, with low fuel consumption and CO2 levels, long range and high performance.
At the push of a button, the Volvo gives its driver the choice of how they want to drive - an electric car with a range of up to 32 miles, a high-efficiency hybrid with carbon dioxide emissions averaging just 49 g/km or an engaging car with a combined output of 215 + 70bhp and acceleration from 0-62 mph in 6.9 seconds.
Under the bonnet is a five-cylinder 2.4-litre D5 turbo diesel producing 215bhp, while the rear axle features Electric Rear Axle Drive (ERAD) in the form of an electric motor producing 70bhp. Transmission is six-speed automatic.
The driver chooses the preferred driving mode via three buttons on the instrument panel - Pure, Hybrid and Power - and the interaction between diesel and electric power is handled via a control system.
Pure mode is fully electric with a range of 32 miles, the default Hybrid setting returns the 49g/km emissions figure and Power mode combines engine and electric drive to allow the 285bhp and spirited acceleration.
Volvo president Stefan Jacoby said: "The second-generation hybrid is the perfect choice for the uncompromising buyer who wants a superbly carbon dioxide-lean car packed with driving pleasure.
"To get drivers to think green we have offered both, in one traditional genuine sports wagon.
"The technology is still undergoing development and testing. However, the car already points very clearly to what our customers can expect when the plug-in hybrid enters showrooms next year.
"What we've done is to spice it up with spearhead technology that allows the driver to choose zero emissions, high-efficiency hybrid or full-on performance. Just select the mode that suits best."
The car's batteries can be re-charged using a household plug and should take around four-and-a-half hours, during which the cabin can be heated or cooled via either a timer in the car's set-up or remotely via a mobile phone application.
DUAL POWER: The Volvo V60's arrangement of diesel engine in the front and electric motor on the back axle