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Volvo XC90 SUV PHEV to offer up to 400 hp and low GHG emissions of around 60 g/km

Powertrain of the Volvo XC90 Twin Engine PHEV. A two-liter, four-cylinder supercharged and turbocharged Drive-E gasoline engine powers the front wheels and an 80 hp (60 kW) electric motor drives the rear wheels. The battery pack is located in the center of the vehicle. Click to enlarge.

Volvo Cars’ all-new XC90 SUV, to be launched later this year, will offer up to 400 horsepower (298 kW) but with CO2 emissions as low as around 60 g/km (NEDC driving cycle). The new XC90 will offer a range of Drive-E engine options, all of which are 4-cylinder engines. (Earlier post.)

For the all-new XC90 seven-seater, the top of the range “Twin Engine” will be a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and carry a T8 badge. Normal driving is conducted in the default hybrid mode. This utilizes a two-litre, four-cylinder supercharged and turbocharged Drive-E gasoline engine that powers the front wheels and an 80 hp (60 kW) electric motor that drives the rear wheels.

The Volvo XC90 Twin Engine features a crankshaft-driven Integrated Starter Generator (ISG) between the high-performance gasoline engine and the 8-speed automatic gearbox. Click to enlarge.

It uses the supercharger to fill in the bottom end of the power range to give the engine a big, naturally-aspirated feel, while the turbocharger kicks in when the airflow builds up. The electric motor on the rear wheels provides immediate torque.

The driver can switch to pure electric power where the range will be around 40 kilometers (25 miles), and then, when needed, immediately revert back to the combined capacity of the gasoline engine and electric motor, with its combined output of around 400 hp and 640 N·m (472 lb-ft) of torque.

The Volvo XC90 range also includes the D5 twin turbo diesel engine with 225 hp (168 kW), 470 N·m (347 lb-ft), fuel consumption of around 6 l/100 km (39 mpg US) and the D4 turbo diesel engine with 190 hp (142 kW), 400 N·m (295 lb-ft) and fuel consumption of around 5 l/100 km (47 mpg US).

The range also offers two gasoline engine options. The first is a T6 turbo engine with supercharger and turbo with 320 hp (239 kW) and a maximum torque of 400 N·m. The second is a T5 with 254 hp (189 kW) and 350 N·m (258 lb-ft).

Volvo Cars’ new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) chassis technology also allows for far more flexibility inside the car. (Earlier post.)

Since our new SPA technology is designed from the start to accommodate electrification technologies, the Twin Engine installation does not compromise luggage or passenger space.

—Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President Research and Development of Volvo Car Group

Volvo launched the original XC90 in 2002. The new XC90 is the first Volvo to use the company’s Scalable Product Architecture (SPA).



This through the ground hybrid design has always made a lot of sense. Most front wheel drive SUVs could be made this way to allow all electric for about 20 miles and combined for 40 mpg.


This could become a gate breaker in USA with its Heavy weight,large size for 7 pass, over powered with 400hp, AWD low GHG emission and low fuel consumption?


Somebody call Mr. Ripley --- believe it or not, we're all on the same page here.

As I mentioned in a previous post I have long been a fan of the rear-axle electric drive scheme, which I guess had not caught on because of modular propulsion assembly. It really does allow quite a bit of flexibility in design considerations. The e-drive part can be scaled to the design intent, from PHEV down to "microhybrid" while allowing ICE propulsion options as well.

Harvey, I think with the exception of the heavy-duty towing case, this architecture permits a Suburban that isn't draining the Permian basin to deliver the soccer team to practice. The problem with replacing the 6+ liter SUV propulsion system is the mindset of people who always defer to what they MIGHT need, as if the semi-annual boat towing exercise to/from the summer house requires year-round preparedness.

SJC, you had mentioned vectored thrust --- I've been wondering why we haven't seen any examples outside of race tracks. The Wrightspeed version is just a curiosity for LDVs at 200kW or so per wheel, but provides true "native" traction control at each corner and it works. Will be interesting to see how Tesla provides AWD with the two-motor Model X arrangement.

I have read this article twice and cannot tell if the supercharger is electric or not. In my mind a mechanically decoupled turbogenerator/electric supercharger with ultracap energy storage closes the deal for me, and I'll end up in one of these.


...oops, here it is: "The mechanically linked compressor starts to function immediately at low revs..."

Well, just one more step.

Patrick Free

Far too small Battery capacity, with far too small Electric motor, means ZERO really usable full EV mode. So this will end up with the ICE engine used all the time, in combination. Will only be good to pretend improving consumption on favorable EU cycle, not really materializing anyone real mileage, and not that good on real mileage. It will NOT allow what PHEV customer like me dream of, that is "Do all my Local commutes in a comfortable all EV mode" and use the Range Extender ICE only for longer vacations trips, with a battery large enough to charge it once every 2 x days only, so a good quality 3000 x cycle battery can last for 20 years and reselling value be very high, this requiring 30KWH battery making > 100M full EV range, plus a > 100KW electric motor. It starts with the right 4 x Cylinders and perfect SUV form factor, but the Electric parts put on top of that are indigent. This will not be the Mainstream PHEV that could do a hit in Europe !


So there's a big market for a 400hp SUV in Sweden ?


There could be a market for a 400 hp hybrid SUV in Russia, Lexus hybrid SUVs sell well there.


There will always be a market for larger cars, and if those cars are extremely fuel efficient for their size then I imagine they will sell well in those countries where filling up the car requires an overdraft clearance from the bank manager.

I'm an avid reader of car reviews and especially real world fuel consumption figures. What I have noticed is that, regardless of the engine size or tech, if the output falls under a certain threshold for the weight of the vehicle then the fuel consumption skyrockets as you have to flog it to get anywhere in decent time. I know they're cutting the weight on this new model but given the size it won't be a petite ballerina on the scales, so having more herbs under the bonnet is better, imo.

Patrick, I always enjoy reading your despairing odes to the lack of hybrid battery range. I guess we just need better batteries? In the interim, would a small bank of supercaps enable battery buffering and perhaps extend the E range out to 50-60 km? Still not great, but better.


Biff, supercaps tech is currently at 10Wh/kg while the best lithium cells are capable of 270Wh/kg. OTOH I'll agree supercaps are great for supplying peak power for acceleration but for energy storage, not so much.

I agree re flogging small motors, probably not much gain there. The problem is that when the mass of a large motor is swamped by the mass of the vehicle it is installed in, then for equal performance it is probably to be expected that even a smaller and lighter engine will end up consuming the same amount of fuel.

Sure, the smaller motor should offer the option to obtain higher mileage but if the driver chooses not to do so - then perhaps the problem with fuel economy lies with the driver and not the powertrain.


For the longest time I was an enthusiast of gasoline electric HEVs but I finally caved this year when Tesla began installing continent-wide, a Supercharger network providing free usage with Tesla models equipped to use them.

Someday Peter Martens & co. should try out a drive in a Tesla Model S. Perhaps then Volvo might reconsider changing their course away from the ice-age era.


Stick 100kW/400Nm motor at each corner (or basically 4xSpark EV motors), add 40kWh battery and 100kW range free-piston linear motor extender. Gear the front motors for highway efficiency, rear motors for launch and city power. Add a 'boost' button to burst the battery at ~10C for short periods, as energy and thermals permit, with a WoW-esque cooldown timer. That should be enough torque for most families' towing needs, and performance like nothing else.



Both BMW and Tesla offer vehicles that could meet your requirements. I realize that you don't think the Tesla is a valid solution, given that they don't follow your suggested implementation exactly, but the BMW i3/i8 do.

I disagree that Volvo's solution isn't good for Europe. 40km all-electric is plenty for most European city dwellers. Arguably, 41km would be better, and 42km even more so, but 40km is what's on offer this year.

Roger Pham

Comparing to an American big SUV having V-8 6-liter engine and 15-mpg, the efficiency gain and engine downsizing of this Volvo is very impressive! Equally important achievement is that no passenger nor luggage space is compromised for this clean-sheet design PHEV, VERY IMPORTANT for a SUV. The 4-wheel drive ability is desirable for icy climates, and here it is available at no extra cost nor weight nor efficiency loss. Overall, a very good package.

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