Volvo PHEV Upgrade Challenges BEV City Ratings

Volvo has improved battery packs in its plug-in hybrid powertrain vehicles to the point several European cities could rate them as full BEVs.

That’s because the cars now claim an electric-only range of more than 50 miles, something that could persuade some city authorities to classify a vehicle as emission free within the jurisdiction of urban emission zones. The automaker’s Recharge PHEV powertrain on its 90 and 60 series models now claims a projected 56 miles of zero emission travel on a single charge.

It suggests that, with the average premium car owner travelling fewer than 31 miles each weekday according one global study, most owners with home charging will be able to do their daily motoring on pure electric power. The main improvements include a new battery featuring a third layer of cells to increase nominal energy from 11.6kWh to 18.8kWh, and a more powerful rear electric motor now delivering 141bhp.

The additional electric power results in a total combined output of 345bhp for Recharge T6 and 450bhp for Recharge T8 models, making the latter the most powerful Volvo cars ever produced. The powertrains also claim to halve the cars’ C02 emissions under the WLTP drive cycle.

A suite of upgrades includes the addition of one-pedal ‘bumper car’-like driving. The function, already seen on pure electric Volvo models, gives the driver the option of controlling both acceleration and deceleration with only the accelerator pedal. It will be rolled out initially on the Volvo XC60, S90 and V90 Recharge plug-in hybrids.

Henrik Green, chief technology officer at Volvo Cars, said: “It’s 2021, and people should no longer have to rely on petrol or diesel when commuting. Our latest plug-in hybrids deliver all the electric driving range needed in most people’s everyday life.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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