Volvo has pulled back the curtains on its range-topping V-8-equivalent XC90 T8 drivetrain, and also announced the plug-in model's estimated 0-62 mph time of 5.9 seconds.
The T8's drivetrain features a transverse-mounted compound supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder gas engine driving the front wheels through an eight-speed automatic, with on-demand assistance from two electric motors. The engine itself produces a healthy and lag-free 314 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Sandwiched between it and the front transaxle is an integrated starter/generator (ISG) good for 46 hp and 111 lb-ft (133 lb-ft when cranking a cold-start). Drop the hammer for full power (or slip the front wheels and force the rears to kick in electrically) and the electric rear motor routes its 80 hp and 177-lb-ft through a single-speed transaxle with a 10:1 ratio to add to the accelerative equation. Both electric motors are water-cooled. Total system output is rated at 395 hp and 472 lb-ft of torque.
These electric machines are powered by a 9.2-kWhr Lithium Manganese Oxide battery pack that lives in a crash-hardened cell beneath the center console. It utilizes 96 individual cells packaged in six modules using Nickel Manganese Cobalt chemistry and graphite anodes. The system is water-cooled, and the battery pack’s brain individually monitors each cell, with the ability to shut down a single cell if problems arise. The pack weighs 260 pounds, and in total the T8’s PHEV system adds 551 pounds. The ISG can power the rear motor when all-wheel traction is needed and the main battery pack is depleted.
As with Volvo’s current line of PHEVs (sold in other markets), there will be three driving modes: “Pure,” for electric-only driving with a range of about 25 miles (the engine kicks on if the driver demands full power), “Hybrid,” which balances power sources for maximum longer-range efficiency), or the self-explanatory “Power” mode. There’s also an AWD mode that permits gentle maneuvering with all-wheel traction, and a mode that can preserve battery capacity for later motoring through an EV-only city-center.
T8 models will be differentiated by their badging, electric-charging door, and handmade crystal shift lever by Orefors. The dash will provide subtle eco-coaching gauges, including one that will graphically indicate the maximum acceleration that can be sustained in “Pure” EV mode.
Marketed globally as “Twin Engine” (a dubious term for a vehicle with one engine and twin motors), with CO2 output of 59 g/mile and a (ridiculously optimistic) Euro NEDC combined fuel economy rating of 94 mpg. Meanwhile, fuel economy based on the U.S. driving cycle is estimated at 59 MPGe.