Volvo V60 Plugin Hybrid• Electric range of 32 miles
• CO2 emissions of 49g/km make it road tax free
• Will cost from £45 to £50k

The Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid will have a range of 32 miles running on electricity alone, before its diesel engine takes over – making shorter journeys emission and fuel consumption free for its owners.

Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid gallery:

Volvo V60 Plugin Hybrid

It’s powered by both a 2.4-litre turbocharged diesel engine with 215bhp and an electric motor with 70bhp. Plug it into the mains electricity and its batteries will fully charge in 4.5 hours, from a 10 amp supply.

The driver can then choose when to switch into full-electric mode, possibly saving the maximum battery power until driving in an urban area.

Because the electric motor sends power to the rear wheels and the diesel engine to the front axle, the V60 Plug-in Hybrid has four-wheel drive which is active at speeds up to 75mph. This helps it sprint from zero to 62mph in 6.2 seconds and can also offer extra grip to get going on slippy surfaces.

Three driving modes are available, called Pure, Hybrid and Power. Pure powers the car just from the batteries so long as they have enough charge. Hybrid is the standard mode, balancing the diesel and electric motor to reduce emissions and improve fuel economy. Combined CO2 emissions are 49g/km and the car will have a range of 621 miles. Power mode programmes both motors to respond quickly for optimum acceleration.

Going on sale in 2012, the V60 Plug-in Hybrid will be available in one trim called Pure Limited, which is equivalent to the highest SE Lux equipment level.

In a first for Volvo, the analogue instruments have been replaced by a single LED screen offering a large variety of display options. A mobile phone app will also allow owners to communicate with their car remotely, allowing functions such as pre-cooling the car’s interior.

Inside, there’s black leather upholstery and inlays of blue-grey wood, seven-inch screen, front and rear parking sensors, Bluetooth, DVD audio system, leather steering wheel and a gear lever with integrated gear indicator.

Its starting price of between £45,000 and £50,000 is significantly more than the range-topping V60 T6 SE Lux Premium fitted with four-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox, which costs £37,880. The Plug-in Hybrid will, however, be entitled to a Government grant of £5,000.

Volvo says it’s the most technologically advanced car it has ever produced and expects to sell as many as 6,000 annually.

By Andy Goodwin, senior web journalist