Volvo has introduced a Plug-in-hybrid version of its all-new XC90 compact SUV, which delivers all the performance of a luxury SUV but with emission levels that even small hybrid cars struggle to match. Being christened as T8 and based on the new modular Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform and successful Drive-E petrol powertrain, it churns out a maximum power of 400 bhp and peak torque of 640Nm combined with ultra-low emissions of 59g/km (TBC).
The XC90 T8 can accelerate from 0 to 100kmph in just 5.9 seconds, delivering all the driving pleasure customers have come to expect from a Volvo SUV. The SUV has five different driving modes that deliver a range of performance and efficiency-enhancing characteristics. Using either a scroll wheel on the centre console or a touchscreen on the dashboard, drivers can choose from - Hybrid, Pure Electric, Power Mode, AWD, and Save. “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.”
Hybrid is the default mode, which is most appropriate for everyday use. In this mode, the SUV automatically shuffles between drawing power from the 2 litre, 4-cylinder Drive-E engine and the electric motor to deliver the best overall fuel consumption. Pure Electric mode gets activated when the high-voltage battery is fully charged and serves as a car’s sole energy source, powering the electric motor over the rear axle. In this mode, the SUV can run upto 40 kilometers using just electricity and owing to the regenerative braking system, this mode is super-efficient in the stop-and-go traffic of city environments. Coming to the Power mode, it works jointly with 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.
Talking about the fourth mode, the AWD, it 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 penultimate mode Save permits the driver to “freeze” the battery level and save it for later use with Pure Electric drive, if the battery is charged. 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.