Plug-in XC90 SUV Popular Enough for Volvo to Roll Out More Electrified Options

Interest in Volvo’s XC90 plug-in hybrid has been strong enough to add PHEV options to two more Volvo models.

About 20 percent of the buyers of its new XC90 are opting for the Twin Engine plug-in hybrid version of the sport-utility vehicle, more than double the company’s original expectations. It’s been a surprise hit for Volvo, which originally had sluggish demand for electric vehicles, said Peter Mertens, Volvo’s global R&D chief, during an interview with The Detroit Bureau.

The Twin Engine plug-in powertrain will next be offered in the S90 sedan and V90 wagons that share platforms with the XC90. Strong response is encouraging Volvo to look at still more electrified vehicle options, Mertens said.

Volvo is preparing to launch an all-electric model in 2019, with others to follow, he said. The XC90 will eventually be available as a battery electric vehicle, Mertens said.

SEE ALSO: Volvo’s XC90 PHEV Starts At $68,100

The company will also be adding plug-in versions of other models in its line-up, notably including the next-generation 40-Series, which is expected to debut next year. Mertens said the Twin Engine system developed for its compact platform 40-Series, will be “a much more simple solution” than the technically complex powertrain in the 90-Series models.

Mertens also revealed that Volvo is looking at new lithium-ion battery technology that could allow a driver to get a full charge in about the same time it takes to fill up a gas tank. He said Volvo is in discussion with an unnamed battery company that is developing a version of lithium-ion chemistry with fast charging capabilities.

“A 10-minute charge would be an absolute breakthrough,” said Mertens. “Anything better would be too good to be true.”

The Detroit Bureau