Volvo is updating its flagship XC90 crossover for 2020, and the biggest news is likely to be the introduction of a new mild-hybrid powertrain that, the automaker claims, marks a “significant step” in its push to electrify its entire line-up.
Three different versions of the mild hybrid technology, dubbed B4, B5 and B6, will be launched for the 2020 model-year, Volvo claiming that they will boost fuel economy by “up to” 15%, while achieving a similar reduction in emissions.
The archetype of Volvo’s ongoing transformation, the XC90 was the first to get Volvo’s T8 Twin engine plug-in hybrid system. That is also being upgraded for 2020. The global edition will feature a new battery and a brake-by-wire system that can recapture more energy normally lost during braking and coasting. The U.S. spokesperson said it was not yet clear if those upgrades will be available for the 2020 American edition of the XC90.
Where it will be available, Volvo said the range of the XC90 – as well as other 90- and 60-series vehicles using the T8 plug-in – will increase by 15%. The current, 10 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery used in the XC90 yields an EPA-estimated 17 miles per charge.
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For the moment, Volvo said it can confirm that the American version of the big, three-row SUV will get a new grille, with changes to interior materials and the addition of a new 2+2+2 seating option.
In July 2017, the Chinese-owned automaker announced it would go “all-electric,” starting with new products coming out in 2019. The strategy did not mean that it would only use battery-electric drivelines but offer a mix of mild and conventional hybrids, as well as plug-in hybrids and pure electric drivetrains.
Volvo’s first all-electric model, the Polestar 2, will make its debut during an Internet news conference next week.
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The Friday announcement shows the breadth of the company’s approach to zero-emissions technology. While it is not offering details, yet, it said the B5 and B6 engines will run on gasoline, with the B4 a diesel.
Meanwhile, Volvo’s news released noted, “the XC40 SUV will also receive a new electrified option, in the form of a T5 Twin Engine (gasoline) plug-in hybrid. A second, T4 Twin Engine, plug-in hybrid option will follow later.”
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Further details on global plans are expected to be revealed at the Geneva Motor Show next month, as well as the New York Auto Show in April.