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Volvo going all-in with plug-in hybrids

Volvo has announced it will be offering a plug-in hybrid version of every new model. It also said it will bring an all-electric car to market.

The Swedish manufacturer will launch plug-in hybrid models for every new model in the next half-decade, starting with the 90 and 60 series cars, which are both underpinned by its new Scalable Product Architecture.

A full-electric vehicle will go on sale in 2019 and is likely to be a premium performance SUV, putting it up against Tesla’s Model X. Rapid charging and a range of 325 miles is expected.

Popular Volvos like the XC90 SUV and S90 saloon will join compact premium vehicles in the plug-in hybrid assault, with plans to offer two-wheel instead of purely four-wheel drive to further improve efficiency. 

CEO Hakan Samuelsson said: “The time has come for electric cars to cease being a niche technology and enter the mainstream. We are confident that by 2020, 10% of Volvo’s global sales will be electrified cars.” 

Volvo senior vice president for research and development Dr Peter Mertens said: “Our research has shown that people are driving our Twin Engine cars in electric mode around 50 per cent of the time, meaning our plug-in hybrids already offer a real alternative to conventional powertrain systems.”

He added: “We have come to a point where the cost versus benefit calculation for electrification is now almost positive. Battery technology has improved, costs are going down, and public acceptance of electrification is no longer a question.”

Volvo estimates electric vehicles will be accepted by the mainstream public between 2020 and 2025.

Plug-in hybrids are nothing new for Volvo. The new XC90 is available with a T8 Twin Engine, which has 407bhp, CO2 emissions of 49g/km and a claimed 100mpg.

Official figures suggest Volvo’s estimation could be on the money, as plug-in hybrid sales figures have increased by 226.5 per cent in the UK to date but overall sales still only represent around one per cent of all new car registrations.

BMW also announced it would be making plug-in hybrid versions of every model.

Not all manufacturers are quite so keen on electric and hybrid cars. Jaguar CEO Ralf Speth, for instance, recently said they are “too heavy, too slow” and that “customers are not impressed”.

Check out our full review of the rather brilliant, Range Rover-rivalling new XC90 here.


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