Despite generally sluggish demand for battery-electric vehicles, Volvo Cars has a surprise hit on its hands with its first plug-in hybrid model, according to the Swedish automaker’s global R&D chief.
About 20% of the buyers of its new XC90 are opting for the so-called Twin Engine version of the sport-utility vehicle, more than double the company’s original expectations. The plug-in powertrain will next be offered in the S90 sedan and V90 wagons that share platforms with the SUV. And the strong response is encouraging Volvo to look at still more electrification options, said research chief Peter Mertens, during an interview.
Among other things, Volvo is readying its first full battery-electric model for 2019, with others soon to follow. And Mertens revealed the carmaker, now owned by China’s Geely, is looking closely at new lithium-ion battery technology that could allow a motorist to get a full charge in about the same time it takes to fill up a gas tank. (more…)