Volvo isn’t exactly at the front of the EV pack, but it’s getting rolling and seems to be picking up electrons pretty quickly. A positive sign from the company is that it’s electrifying one of its most popular vehicles, the Volvo XC60, and the production line for the new XC60 just opened in Sweden.
The XC60 is a small or midsized SUV/CUV (depending on how you classify things). This is essentially the most popular class of vehicle across the world now. Being a Volvo, the XC60 tucks itself into the premium class for that size vehicle, but it’s still fairly accessible to middle class buyers.
As Loren McDonald recently wrote, the SUV/CUV class is the key to the next wave of EV adoption. So, it’s a good sign that the XC60 is one of the first vehicles Volvo is electrifying. The original XC60, which was produced for 9 years, became the best-selling premium midsized SUV in Europe, Volvo notes.
The top trim in this new model lineup is the plug-in hybrid option — the XC60 T8 Twin Engine. It has 407 hp and 0–100 km/h acceleration in 5.3 seconds. That said, there seems to be no price for the XC60 T8 online yet, so we’ll have to get back to you on that important detail.
Note that Volvo has had a larger plug-in hybrid SUV on the market for a little while now — the XC90 T8. This high-end, large, quick, premium SUV doesn’t see many sales in the US, but it is the 8th best-selling plug-in vehicle in Europe so far this year. One of our top EV reporters, Kyle Field, reviewed the XC90 T8 recently, if you want to have a closer look at that model. The summary is that the XC90 looks like a beautiful and stunning option … if you for some reason feel a need to get a plug-in hybrid instead of the fully electric Tesla Model X (or if you’re simply a devoted Volvo fan).
Kyle and I both heavily prefer the Model X (read his Model X review here and mine here), but I think we can see why some consumers would choose the XC90 T8. Similarly, there must be some percentage of buyers who would prefer an XC60 T8 over the eventual Tesla Model Y. I’m certainly very curious to see how the XC60 T8 ends up selling, and if Volvo really pushes it or is treating it as a compliance car. There’s cause for optimism here, though.
Viktor Irle of EV Volumes did tell CleanTechnica recently, “Volvo has the highest sales share of plug-in hybrids among European brands.” In other words, relative to a company’s total car sales, Volvo’s plug-in hybrids perform better than any other European brand (in Europe). Here are US and European EV sales charts we’ve created for the early months of 2017:
Here are some more technical details on the coming XC60, including notes regarding automated driving features and Volvo’s famed safety:
“The new XC60, one of the safest cars ever made, is fully-loaded with new technology. Steer Assist has been added to the ground-breaking City Safety system. A new safety system called Oncoming Lane Mitigation uses steer assist to help mitigate head-on collisions, while Volvo’s Blind Spot Indication System (BLIS) now uses Steer Assist functionality to reduce the risk of lane-changing collisions.
“Pilot Assist, Volvo’s advanced semi-autonomous driver assistance system, which takes care of steering, acceleration and braking on well-marked roads up to 130 km/h, is available in the new XC60 as an option.”
Volvo shows up pretty high on rankings of automated driving features, coming in at #7 overall.
Volvo is late to the party to introduce a fully electric car. Its first one is planned as a 2019 model year car that is supposed to have a price of $35,000–40,000. That should be an exciting model to cover and review. In the meantimes, we’ll see how much it electrifies the market via plug-in hybrids like the XC60 T8 and XC90 T8.