At its unveiling at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show earlier this year, Volvo said its V60 plug-in hybrid was "virtually production-ready." This was an accurate statement as it turns out, with the Swedish automaker announcing that from next year it will begin selling what is likely to be the world's first diesel plug-in hybrid production car. The V60 plug-in hybrid has a range of up to 50 km (31 miles) when driven purely by the electric motor, with the car's total operating range extending up to 1,200 km (745.6 miles) when combined with the ICE.

The V60 plug-in hybrid is the result of an industrial partnership launched in 2007 between Volvo and Swedish energy supplier Vattenfall that aimed to test and develop plug-in technology. Volvo says the resulting vehicle provides drivers with the best properties of both an electric car and a diesel-powered vehicle: namely, very low fuel consumption and CO2 levels, combined with long range and high performance. Volvo is developing the V60 plug in hybrid in parallel with development of the all-electric C30.

"These two car types complement one another. With a plug-in hybrid the driver is entirely independent of recharging stations when driving long distances. The future electric-car market will feature a mixture of both all-electric cars and plug-in hybrids," says Stefan Jacoby, President and CEO of Volvo Car Corporation.

Volvo hasn't revealed exactly how much the V60 plug-in hybrid will cost when it launches next year but says, due to the cost of the hybrid's battery pack, the vehicle will be more expensive than the conventional combustion engine-driven V60. However, the company calculates that fuel costs will be one-third compared with the combustion engine V60 - although exact costs will vary depending on your electricity supplier. The vehicle will take around five hours to charge from a standard household electricity outlet.

Figures supplied by Volvo on the V60 plug-in hybrid's performance are pretty impressive. Volvo says the vehicle averages 49 grams of CO2 emissions per kilometer using the NEDC EU Combined certification driving cycle, and gets 1.9 liters per 100 km (123.8 mpg) - which as a point of interest, is even better than the 2.29 liter per 100 km (102.7 mpg) figure reached by the 2010 Automotive X-PRIZE winner, Very Light Car #98.