The first Volvo designed from the ground up for plug-in/electrification compatibility, the XC90 T8, delivers all the performance of a luxury SUV, but with emission levels that even small hybrid cars struggle to match.
When designing the XC90 T8, Volvo Cars chose not to compromise on performance, driving pleasure, efficiency or even luggage space. By building on the new modular Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform and successful Drive-E petrol powertrain, the company has created a uniquely roomy 7-seater SUV that delivers 400hp/640Nm combined with ultra-low emissions of 59g/km (TBC).
“The XC90 T8 is a plug-in electric car, hybrid car and high-performance car rolled into one,” says Dr Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President Research and Development of Volvo Car Group. “The Drive-E engines already offer highly competitive performance versus the competition. The T8 takes it further into a leading position.”
The XC90 T8 can go from 0 to 62mph in 5.9 seconds, has five different driving modes that deliver a range of performance and efficiency-enhancing characteristics and use either a scroll wheel on the centre console or a touchscreen on the dashboard.
In the hybrid default mode, the vehicle will automatically alternate between drawing power from the 2-litre, 4-cylinder Drive-E engine and the electric motor to deliver the best overall fuel consumption.
In the pure-electric mode, when the high-voltage battery is fully charged, it serves as the car’s sole energy source, powering the electric motor over the rear axle. The XC90 T8 has a range of up to 25 miles using just electricity.
In the power mode, drivers get the combined performance of the combustion engine and the electric motor. On start-up, the SUV takes advantage of the electric motor’s superior response and instant torque curve, while the combustion engine gets up to speed. This combination offers better torque at lower revs, equivalent to that of a large displacement engine like the V8.
The AWD mode offers constant all-wheel drive on demand. The advantage of being able to select AWD manually is that the driver can use it when needed, or choose to save energy for later.
The SAVE mode, if the battery is charged, allows the driver to “freeze” the battery level and save it for later use with Pure Electric drive. On the other hand, if the battery is low, the driver can use the combustion engine to charge the battery to a certain level for later use with Pure Electric drive.
Delivering 82hp (60kW) and 240Nm torque, the large electric motor sits on the rear axle and drives the back wheels in electric and power-boost modes. The rear placement is significant because it allows for a larger motor, which is useful for following stop-and-go city traffic rhythms. This placement also makes efficient all-wheel drive possible because each axle has its own power source.
09 December 2014
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