Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid tops Euro NCAP crash test results
By Philippe Crowe
Volvo prides itself on making vehicles that are safe in all respects. It then should come as no surprise that the Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid has achieved the highest safety score ever for an electrified car in Euro NCAP.
The five stars obtained in the recent test, which included a frontal offset collision at 64 kph (40 mph), demonstrates that the V60 Plug-in Hybrid has the same high safety level as the standard V60.
“We apply the same high standards to all our products. The Euro NCAP score demonstrates that the ingenious V60 Plug-in Hybrid features the same outstanding safety level as the standard car,” says Jan Ivarsson, senior manager Safety Strategy & Requirements at Volvo Car Group.
Volvo says the integration of the battery pack and the added weight the batteries create required a unique safety approach during the development of the V60 Plug-in Hybrid.
The structure has been modified and reinforced to enable a controlled deformation to help provide a high safety level. The battery pack in the V60 Plug-in Hybrid is well encapsulated and located under the load floor.
“The Plug-in Hybrid has been exposed to an extensive test program during the development phase, as all our new car models,” says Jan Ivarsson. “This includes full-scale crash tests with different load cases, such as frontal collision, rear and side collisions to verify that also the battery technology fulfils our stringent safety requirements. The V60 Plug-in Hybrid also offers all unique Volvo active safety functions, such as City Safety, Collision Warning with full Auto Brake and Pedestrian Detection.”
Detailed information about the tests and the results can be found at: www.euroncap.com.
Production of the new 2013 V60 Plug-in Hybrid is ramping up and the first 1,000 ‘Pure Limited’ cars were sold out before they reached the showrooms. After this initial production run, production of the Plug-in Hybrid will increase to 4,000-6,000 cars for model year 2014.
While the battery appears to have been well isolated, Volvo did not say whether the European authorities would leave the car with battery charged. If it catches fire in three weeks, unknown also if it will be a national scandal and whether Volvo would buy back V60s if owners have “concerns,” or whether certain politicians and pundits would also then play dog pile on the rabbit against the car. Guess we’ll have to wait and see on those questions …
Fiat Unveils 500e At LA Auto Show
By Pete Brissette
If you think the Chevy Spark EV might have room for improvement, implicitly, Fiat may also agree with you.
Without naming cars specifically, Fiat said yesterday it has the answer to what it generally describes as the “blocky, bulky, busy, ugly … and worst of all, goofy” current crop of environmentally friendly automobiles on the market.
During the Fiat press conference at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show, Fiat’s worldwide brand chief, Olivier Francois, primed the crowd for the unveiling of the all-electric powertrain 500e by asking, “Isn’t ugliness the worst pollution of all?”
François’ blatant implication was that the sporty design DNA of Fiat’s 500 lineup now infused in the all-new 500e is the remedy for a market full of unattractive and uninspired alternative-fuel vehicles.
“Any company can deliver that’s environmentally friendly,” said François. “Let me tell you it takes Fiat to deliver something that’s environmentally sexy.”
Vehicle aesthetics are subjective; but Fiat backs up the appearance of the 500e with notable figures for its new EV.
Fiat says the micro car offers driving range of at least 80 miles, with city driving pushing the range to 100 miles The company also says the EV will go 0 – 60 in nine seconds, with a top speed of 85 mph. François stated the battery’s performance is “all-weather,” saying range isn’t reduced by ambient temperature extremes, and that a full recharge takes approximately four hours via a 240-volt charger.
The li-ion battery has an eight-year warranty.
The company that also owns a majority stake in Chrysler says its new EV’s electric motor produces 111 horsepower and 147 pound-feet of torque from a 24-kilowatt lithium-ion battery. Additionally, the car’s battery charge level, tire pressure, charging status, remote heating and cooling, as well as locating nearby charging stations and numerous other features, are all accessible via a smart phone app.
Beyond passion-driven Italian styling and the above performance figures, Fiat was otherwise light on details for the 500e in terms of MSRP but did announce that when the car goes on sale in Spring 2013 it will be immediately available from dealers, but only in California.
This California-only footnote may further lend credence to recent speculation that the 500e is merely a compliance car meant to meet California regulations requiring manufactures produce a certain percentage of zero-emission vehicles.
While François injected entertainment and requisite enthusiasm for the 500e, a great deal more time was spent on the unveiling of Fiat’s new four-door 500L. According to Fiat the new vehicle is only two feet longer than two-door 500 models, but offers 42 percent more interior room. The L model will arrive in Summer 2013.
Also of note, François stated that all manual transmission 500 models get a minimum of 40 mpg.
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