Specially Equipped Volvo XC60 PHEVs Will Film Solar Eclipse In America

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This story about the Volvo XC60 and the solar eclipse in America was first published on Gas2.

On August 21, a fleet of specially equipped Volvo XC60 SUVs will capture the solar eclipse live in 360 degree virtual reality from four locations in the US along the path of totality in stunning 4K VR. Afterwards, it will compile all the raw footage and edit into a unified whole, then share it with the world. A full solar eclipse hasn’t been visible in the entire US in the past 100 years. The next time it will happen in 2024. Prior to August 21 of this year, (alert: obscure Carly Simon reference ahead) the wealthy had to fly their Lear Jets up to Nova Scotia to see a total eclipse of the sun.

The Volvo XC60 is a hugely important car for Volvo, in that it accounts for more sales than any other model the company sells. The midsize SUV is all new for 2018 and is available with the same compound turbocharged 400 horsepower plug-in hybrid powertrain that comes in the larger XC90, with one small difference. The battery in the XC60 is 1.2 kWh larger, giving it an electric range of 28 miles.

Volvo has recently stirred up the automotive industry by announcing that all of its cars will be equipped with a battery and an electric motor beginning in 2019. Yes, it’s true they won’t all be fully electric cars — although, Volvo and parent company Geely are busy designing fully electrics for the near future. Some of the new Volvos will be hybrids and others will be plug-in hybrids, but the announcement positions Volvo as the first major manufacturer to turn its back completely on conventional cars.

Volvo has begun producing the new XC60 cars at its factory in Torslanda, Sweden. Availability in the US is expected in early 2018. Prices in the American market have not been announced, but the current version of the car starts at about $41,000 or about the same as a BMW i3. The XC60 is smack dab in the middle of the hottest segment of the new car market worldwide — a midsize SUV with a midsize price — which should give Volvo a big advantage in the marketplace.

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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new."

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