The 2015 Volvo XC90 T8 Plug-in Hybrid: 5 Modes of Power and Economy
They gave it a catchy name, the XC90 T8. They also put in one of the most technologically advanced plug-in hybrid propulsion systems ever.
“The XC90 T8 is a plug-in electric car, hybrid car and high-performance car rolled into one,” says Dr Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President Research and Development of Volvo Car Group. “The Drive-E engines already offer highly competitive performance versus the competition. The T8 takes it further into a leading position.”
What Dr. Mertens might mean by “highly competitive performance” is a 7-seat plug-in hybrid that goes from 0-62 in 5.9 seconds. While getting up to 59 miles per gallon.
The star of this story is Volvo’s new T8 engine, cleverly called the “Twin Engine”. That would be for the fact that it is a hybrid, mating a turbocharged AND supercharged 4-cylinder 318 horsepower gasoline engine with a 60 kw (82 hp) electric motor. The T8 delivers power and savings via 5 different power settings, detailed below.
Hybrid: This is the default mode, suitable for everyday use. Here, the vehicle will automatically alternate between drawing power from the 2-litre, 4-cylinder Drive-E engine and the electric motor to deliver the best overall fuel consumption.
Pure electric: In this mode, when the high-voltage battery is fully charged, it serves as the car’s sole energy source, powering the electric motor over the rear axle. The XC90 T8 has a range of more than 40km using just electricity, which covers the total distance most people drive in one day. And thanks to the regenerative braking system, this mode is super-efficient in the stop-and-go traffic of city environments. If more power is needed, the Drive-E combustion engine starts up automatically.
Power mode: Here, drivers get the combined performance of the combustion engine and the electric motor. On start-up, the SUV takes advantage of the electric motor’s superior response and instant torque curve, while the combustion engine gets up to speed. This combination offers better torque at lower revs, equivalent to that of a large displacement engine like the V8.
AWD: This mode offers constant all-wheel drive on demand. The advantage of being able to select AWD manually is that the driver can use it when needed, or choose to save energy for later.
Save: If the battery is charged, this mode allows the driver to “freeze” the battery level and save it for later use with Pure Electric drive. On the other hand, if the battery is low, the driver can use the combustion engine to charge the battery to a certain level for later use with Pure Electric drive.
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