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Volvo’s XC90 PHEV More Popular Than Expected

Originally published on Gas2.

xc90-1The Volvo XC90 PHEV due to go on sale in America later this year has proven to be more popular than Volvo’s product planners ever expected. “We were planning on a 3 to 5% take rate of this model,” Volvo UK’s managing director, Nick Connor, told AutoExpress. “But our current rate on sold orders is over 20 per cent. We underestimated it.”  Indeed they did. The PHEV version of the XC90 is back ordered all the way into 2016 and that’s before sales in the US even begin.

Why have manufacturers been so slow to bring plug in hybrid versions of SUVs to market? Mitsubishi has been diddling around for years with its Outlander PHEV. Even though sales are strong in Europe, it has delayed bringing that vehicle to US consumers since 2012. Almost a third of all new car sales in the US are SUV’s. Where are all the plug in and electric SUV’s?

Is Elon Musk the only one who can peer into the future and see that the public wants to buy these cars more than they want to buy tiny little sedans that can only drive a few miles from home? The Tesla Model X will be here in a few months and Tesla has more than 10,000 advance orders for it already. Where are the plug in SUV’s from Ford, Chevy and Chrysler?

The Volvo XC90 PHEV features a total of 390 horsepower from a combination of a supercharged and turbocharged gasoline engine and an electric motor. The 7-passenger crossover is a favorite of families who need to tote around a bunch of children and their friends.

The unexpected demand for the XC90 PHEV is causing Volvo to reassess its plug in hybrid strategy across the board. A company spokesman says, “As with XC90 the intention is that it is kept at the upper end of each model, but if it was to be something that grows considerably, we could do it across every model.” Here’s some free advice for Volvo (and every other car maker): Build them and they will come!”

Reprinted with permission.

 
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Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. 3000 years ago, Socrates said, "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." Perhaps it's time we listened?

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