60 and 90 series PHEV Volvos get larger batteries, more range and more performance

Volvo has upgraded the plug-in hybrid powertrains that can be found in its larger 60 and 90 series cars and SUVs. Upping the cell count by a third should see a far greater zero emissions range which Volvo reckons will help more people to do a whole commute without using the car’s engine.

The upgrade should affect the V60, V90, S60 and S90, as well as the XC60 and XC90 Twin Engine models, all of which are based on the brand’s Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform. That said, we’re still waiting for Volvo to confirm this.

At its heart is a new, larger battery which has grown in capacity by around a third – up from 11.6kWh to 18.8kWh. It’ll still be located in the central tunnel, but has gained a third row of cells, without impact on the overall size of the unit, to make up that additional capacity. Thanks to this, there should be no impact on any of the cars’ packaging so all interior dimensions will remain the same.

The major impact of this upgrade is in electric only range, which has jumped from around the 30 mile mark up to 56 miles. According to Volvo, the rationale is to cater for a greater proportion of people’s commuting circumstances.

“It’s 2021, and people should no longer have to rely on petrol or diesel when commuting. Our latest plug-in hybrids deliver all the electric driving range needed in most people’s everyday life,” said Henrik Green, Chief Technology Officer at Volvo.

We’re yet to hear whether Volvo has upped the charging speed of the newly configured battery. Until now, it has been limited to 3.7kWh which saw a three-and-a-bit hour charge for the 11.6kWh unit. Adding another 90 minutes or so to this would potentially put people off bothering to juice up when parked in public, for example, and in our experience the Twin Engine Volvos are thirsty when the battery is left to run dry – negating any efficiency gains you’d otherwise be making.

That said, the new setup should see official CO2 emissions and fuel consumption improved by up to 50 per cent – according to Volvo.

As well as battery size and associated range, Volvo has upped the power available from its rear-mounted electric motor significantly from 90bhp to 143bhp. This takes the total system power up to 345bhp in T6 variants and 448bhp on T8 models which trumps the XC40 Recharge to become Volvo’s most powerful ever production model.

To enhance driving in electric-only mode, Volvo has improved the one pedal driving in the XC60, S90 and V90 Recharge which should help owners to squeeze out some extra range through regenerative braking.

Henrik Green added: “Driving a plug-in hybrid is often a stepping-stone to going fully electric. We believe that this upgrade will show to many that driving electric is the future, and take us closer to our 2030 ambition of becoming fully electric.”


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