If you like SUVs and plug-in hybrids, you might be pleased to hear that Volvo will soon come out with a 7-passenger vehicle of that type for the US market. The all-electric range will be about 25 miles, which is not bad for such a large vehicle. Currently, the launch date for it is Spring 2015, and would make it the first plug-in SUV hitting the US market (thanks to several delays by Mitsubishi and Tesla).
The 2016 XC90 is supposed to be able to go from 0 to 60 in less than six seconds. This kind of speed in an SUV will certainly pull in some buyers. (If fuel efficiency is the primary goal, it won’t do to be punching the accelerator, however.) Perhaps the speediness is a good way to overcome the old saw that fuel efficiency also must mean “slow or boring.”
This one is probably incapable of being that, with a 400 horsepower engine. The diesel hybrid employs both turbo and supercharging. It is combined with an 8-speed automatic transmission.
One of the niftiest features of the vehicle is automated braking that activates if a driver turns in front of you.
The vehicle is intended to fit into the luxury category and will feature high-quality leather seats. A large touchscreen is embedded in the dash for access to information and controls. A 1,400 watt stereo system with 19 speakers will also be included.
Mileage has not been certified by the US EPA yet.
There is also a non-hybrid version with a list price of $48,000, though this vehicle apparently will not be available in the US, and the plug-in hybrid price will surely be a bit higher.
One of the most interesting aspects of this story is sort of a tangent. If or when the Tesla all-electric SUV is launched, it might be that it has more appeal for the majority of buyers than a gas engine and electric combination (… that is not coming from Tesla). “Range anxiety” (or anxiety about range anxiety) can’t be that much of an issue with the Teslas if they can go over 200 miles on a single charge.
Of course, hybrid vehicles are the middle ground choice between conventional and all-electric ones. So perhaps, emotionally, they appear less risky to some consumers. Plug-in hybrid SUVS might also become more popular, especially if they eventually can travel at least 40 miles on a single charge. The Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in has certainly proved popular in Europe and Japan.
Image Credit: Volvo
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