Volvo XC90 Hybrid

The Volvo XC90 T8 “Twin Engine” is offering hybrid consumers a couple of unique qualities. For starters, it is the world’s first plug-in hybrid with seating for seven. When it goes on sale this fall it will also boast another first. No other production plug-in hybrid has ever been offered with a 240-volt Level 2 charging cord as standard equipment.

Volvo XC90 Hybrid

The XC90 T8 will be equipped with an AeroVironment TurboCord that allows for both Level 1 charging from a standard outlet, as well as Level 2 charging. AeroVironment claims that it will only take about 2.5 hours to replenish the vehicle’s battery pack using Level 2 charging. Level 1 charging will take approximately 7 hours.

The battery pack is a 9.2-killowatt-hour lithium-ion battery that will provide enough capacity for about 25 miles of all-electric range. This figure is according to Volvo, so the EPA rated range may be different. This battery is located in the central tunnel for a low center of gravity and more interior space. The battery supplies power to an 82 horsepower electric motor that is paired with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine that is turbocharged and supercharged.

The electric motor is mounted on the rear axle and delivers up to 177 pounds/feet of torque to the back wheels in power-boost and pure-electric modes, along with AWD that is energy efficient. The XC90 also has a 34-kilowatt crankshaft-mounted starter/generator (CISG) between the gearbox and engine that is used for three important functions; an electric generator, an electric engine booster that delivers up to 111 pound/feet of additional torque on demand, and a powerful starter motor to allow seamless transitions from electric power to combination drive.

Volvo XC90 Hybrid

The XC90 T8 is also equipped with an eight-speed automatic transmission that channels power from the gasoline engine to the front wheels. The electric motor powers the rear wheels. Like all Drive-E engines, this vehicle offers stop-start, which kills the engine while at rest in order to save fuel, and then restarts it when the brake is released. It’s also equipped with brake regeneration.

A larger oil pump offers the necessary transmission lubrication during electric drive as well as quicker pressure build-up when transitioning from electric power to engine drive. The XC90 Plug-in Hybrid offers other efficiency-enhancing measures that include intelligent heat management with an electric water pump, continuously-variable valve timing, and low-friction camshaft ball bearings.

The hybrid electric XC90 has a blended braking system, meaning that it partly uses brake-by-wire technology to transmit and recover energy for use immediately or to recharge the battery, and an exclusive stability function that controls the amount of energy that can be regenerated safely. Another unique feature of this vehicle is its cooling system with one extra circuit to cool the drive motor and CISG, and another that cools the battery either actively through integration with the climate system or passively via the radiator.

Total power output for the 2016 Volvo XC90 Plug-In Hybrid is 390 horsepower from the combined systems, and Volvo claims the vehicle’s 0-60 acceleration is less than 6 seconds. Its biggest competition will likely be from the BMW X5 xDrive 40e and the Mercedes-Benz GLE 550e (which will also go on sale in the fall, 2016). Prices for those two vehicles have not yet been released as of the time of this update.

Volvo XC90 Hybrid

Drivers can choose from five different driving modes with the XC90, which can be selected by a scroll wheel on the console or via the large, tablet-like touchscreen on the dashboard. “Hybrid” mode is the default for everyday use. It automatically alternates power draw between the motor and the engine for the best overall fuel efficiency. The “pure electric” mode uses the electric motor as the sole energy source, which you probably guessed by its name.

“Power boost” mode combines the engine’s peak power with the motor’s instant low-end torque to give the SUV V8-like performance. As its name suggests, the “AWD” mode provides constant all-wheel drive from the front engine and rear motor on demand. Lastly “Save” mode freezes the battery’s state of charge to save it for later pure-electric use. If the battery is low, it will use the engine to charge it.

Pricing has been released for the XC90 T8. It is priced at $69,100 for the base model, and the sportier R-Design will start at $71,000. The vehicle is already on sale in Europe and other markets. It is offered in gasoline, diesel, and plug-in hybrid models. This XC90 is the first of Volvo’s new range of luxury cars and SUVs under the Chinese owner Greely. It is the first major redesign of the large SUV since 2002.

Volvo XC90 Hybrid

Reception of the vehicle in the U.K. has been overwhelming. In fact, according to Auto Express the XC90 T8 Twin Engine version is already sold out for the year. Volvo’s managing director, Nick Connor, said that Volvo had planned for 3-5% of its XC90 sales to be plug-in hybrids, but it actually represents about one-fifth of the total right now. He also stated that the plug-in hybrid is sold out for deliveries well into 2016.

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