In the first drive for the 2018 Volvo XC 60, I spoke with Olle Fast, Volvo’s Project Leader for propulsion power systems, about Volvo’s plug-in hybrid battery system and goals for the future.
Fast also explained why Volvo is keeping their options open when it comes to batteries, “Currently we use a Lithium-ION LG Chem battery. Battery development is up, and the price is going down. Since development is so quick, we are not committing to one battery strategy. In the time that we have brought out the XC90 plug-in hybrid to bringing out the XC 60 plug-in hybrid now the cell chemistry energy has gone from 9.2 to 10.4 kWh in the same volume, and usage has gone up by almost twenty percent. ”
The Volvo XC 60 plug-in hybrid exchanging its driveshaft and differential for an electric motor and 96 pouch Lithium Manganese Oxide – Nickel Manganese Cobalt/Graphite cells using 270-400V that creates 10.4 kWh (nominal).
Volvo has a standing goal to electrify 1 million cars by 2025 and to produce the first fully electric Volvo by 2019 as well as a new 48V mild hybrid system. Fast explained the thought process behind Volvo’s product lineup, “Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) and compact modular architecture (CMA) have been designed for electrification from the beginning. It gives us the flexibility to the transition of our goals.”
Volvo launched the world’s first diesel plug-in hybrid in 2012. In 2015 they launched the world’s cleanest and most powerful, 400-Horsepower, 7-seat plug-in hybrid SUV: the XC90 T8 Twin Engine. Twin Engine technology will be available on all of Volvo Cars’ future product architectures.
In 2016 only ten percent of the Volvo XC 90 sales were plug-in hybrids. Part of that was because of the price; there was approximately a $16,000 difference between the gasoline version and the PHEV version. That is changing with the 2018 Volvo XC 60; the difference in price between the petroleum version and the plug-in hybrid is $8,000.
The United States infrastructure isn’t ready for all cars to be electric, but every car could be a plug-in hybrid. As the price of batteries keep going down in cost and the understanding of plug-in hybrids go up the hope is that sales will go up.