GOTHENBURG, Sweden – The 400-horsepower plug-in hybrid version of Volvo’s new, second-generation XC90 will have an EPA rating of 59 mpge when it goes on sale in the third quarter of 2015, says Per-Arne Reinholdsson, technical director of the crossover-utility vehicle’s new T8 Twin Engine powerplant. Twin Engine refers to the 2.0-liter gasoline four’s supercharger/turbocharger combo. The transmission is an eight-speed automatic shift-by-wire operated by a gearshift handmade of Orrefors crystal.
Called the T8, the new 2016 Volvo XC90 engine coincidentally achieves CO2 emissions of 59 grams per kilometer in the European test cycle. Reinholdsson promises a 0-62 mph sprint of 5.9 seconds. The T8 can run on pure electricity for up to 40 kilometers, or about 25 miles, on a full charge. The 2016 Volvo XC90 T8 is “the only plug-in seven-seater” with “no compromise on interior or luggage space” from the battery pack, Reinholdsson says. The battery pack is located in the drivetrain tunnel, which also lowers the CUV’s center of gravity and enhances handling.
The T8 powerplant will offer three drive modes: Pure, for all-battery operation; Hybrid, which combines the gas engine and electric motor, and Power, which is gas internal-combustion only. The full plug-in battery charge can be saved for later in a drive, such as when entering stop-and-go city streets.
Riding on Volvo’s new SPA large-car platform, which will be the basis for everything from the next S60 on up, the 2016 Volvo XC90 T8 starts with the same 2.0-liter turbocharged and supercharged I-4 as in the conventional 2016 Volvo XC90 that will go sale in spring 2015. It’s rated 318 hp and 295 pound-feet, which produces what Reinholdsson describes as a “big, naturally aspirated feel.” A crankshaft-integrated starter-generator produces 46 hp and 110 pound-feet. The battery consists of 96 lithium-ion cells producing 65 kilowatts and 9.2 kilowatt-hours
The electric rear-axle drive boosts power by 82 hp to 400 and makes 177 pound-feet. “Each axle has its own power source,” Reinholdsson says. Full charge times are 12 hours at 110 volts or six hours at 230 volts.
The XC90’s platform and powertrain are all-new, developed after Ford Motor Company’s sale of Volvo to Geely, with no carry-over parts. Volvo president and CEO Hakan Samuelsson expects the T8 plug-in hybrid to account for about 10 percent of 2016 Volvo XC90 sales. The powertrain can be adapted to anything in the SBA platform family, from the next-generation S60 to the expected S90 luxury sedan, though Samuelsson would not confirm which models might go plug-in. The price will be equivalent to the premium for competitors’ top performance models with turbocharged or supercharged sixes and V-8s, he said. From now on, no Volvo will have more than four cylinders under the hood, and the large SBA models’ front wheels will be pushed as far to the front of the transverse-mounted engine as possible, making for rear-wheel-drive-style dash-to-axle proportions.