IRVINE, CA – The chosen powertrain for the Volvo XC60 Concept is a six-cylinder, 3.2L bioethanol engine with all-wheel drive. The engine features 265 horsepower and 251 lb.-ft. of torque, with fossil carbon dioxide emissions dropping by up to 80 percent when driving, compared with its gasoline counterpart. The powertrain for the XC60 Concept uses the same six-cylinder, in-line gasoline engine introduced in the new Volvo S80 in 2006. Top speed is approximately 143 mph.

Fuel economy when running on E-85 (ethanol) is 19.2 mpg – a competitive figure for this type car, since the energy content of ethanol is 40-percent lower than that of gasoline, according to Volvo.

Three of Volvo Cars’ nine models — the C30, S40, and V50 — are available in nine European markets with the bioethanol-powered four-cylinder FlexiFuel alternative. In addition to Sweden, Volvo will offer its FlexiFuel cars in France, Norway, the Netherlands, Spain, United Kingdom, Ireland, Belgium, Austria, and Switzerland. Volvo Cars predicts sales of 7,000 FlexiFuel cars in 2007.

Presently there are 23 plants producing ethanol in Europe, and this figure is expected to rise to just over 60 in 2008. About 720 million gallons of ethanol are produced annually within the European Union, primarily from sugar beet and various grains. Capacity is expected to increase threefold by 2008, according to Volvo.

As of August 2006, the United States had 101 bioethanol plants in operation and with a capacity of 4.8 billion gallons per year. Additionally, 39 bio refineries are under construction, and seven more are expanding, which will add more than 2.5 billion gallons of capacity when complete. Ethanol is blended in 40 percent of the U.S. gasoline supply, and there are already about 1,000 E-85 filling stations in the United States, according to Volvo.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials