Volvo Cars has taken a significant step towards its electrification goals with the release of upgraded and newly developed electrified powertrain options, to be made available across its entire model range in the future.
The company has upgraded its existing Twin Engine plug-in hybrid powertrain, while at the same time confirming that plug-in options will now be available on every model it produces.
Moreover, Volvo Cars will introduce a range of mild hybrids in the coming months, starting with diesel and petrol versions on the XC90 and XC60 SUV models.
These mild hybrids for the first time offer customers Volvo’s advanced kinetic energy-recovery braking system, which is coupled with its existing internal combustion engines to create a new integrated electrified powertrain, under its new ‘B’ badge.
This new powertrain, electrified via brake-by-wire energy recovery, offers drivers up to 15 per cent fuel savings and emission reductions in real-world driving.
The new brake-by-wire system interacts with the energy-recovery system and reduces fuel consumption and emissions by recovering kinetic energy under braking.
In line with its strategy and supported by extremely strong demand, Volvo Cars has upgraded its production capacity so that up to 25 per cent of total production can be Twin Engine plug-in hybrid cars. In addition, it expects its new ‘B’-badged powertrains to gradually become the new standard, moving it closer to its goal that by the middle of the next decade all of its cars will be electrified.
There will be new and upgraded powertrains introduced on Volvo’s larger Scalable Product Architecture (SPA)-based cars.
The upgraded T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid features a new battery and brake-by-wire advanced battery charging. The range of the T8 powertrain has increased by around 15 per cent, and this powertrain is available on all 90 and 60 series cars.
The XC90 will be available with a B5-badged mild-hybrid petrol or diesel variant, as well as a B6-badged petrol mild hybrid.
On the XC60, customers will be able to choose between a B5 mild-hybrid petrol or diesel variant, a B4 diesel mild hybrid as well as a B6 petrol mild hybrid. The B5 petrol will be available with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
The company’s smaller Compact Modular Architecture-based XC40 SUV will also receive a new electrified option, in the form of a T5 Twin Engine petrol plug-in hybrid. A second, T4 Twin Engine, plug-in hybrid option will follow later.
All UK-market details are to be confirmed.
Volvo Cars, as a worldwide leader in safety, is sending a strong signal about the dangers of speeding and will limit the top speed on all its cars to 180kph (112mph) from 2020.
The company’s Vision 2020, which aims for no one to be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo by 2020, is one of the most ambitious safety visions in the automotive industry. But realising that technology alone will not get it all the way to zero, Volvo Cars is now broadening its scope to include a focus on driver behaviour.
Research by Volvo Cars has identified three remaining concerns for safety that constitute so-called ‘gaps’ in its ambition to completely end serious injuries and fatalities in its cars, with speeding a very prominent one.
“Volvo is a leader in safety: we always have been and we always will be,” said Håkan Samuelsson, President and Chief Executive of Volvo Cars. “Because of our research, we know where the problem areas are when it comes to ending serious injuries and fatalities in our cars. And while a speed limitation is not a cure-all, it’s worth doing if we can even save one life.”
Apart from limiting top speeds, the company is also investigating how a combination of smart speed control and geofencing technology could automatically limit speeds around schools and hospitals in future.
“We want to start a conversation about whether car makers have the right or maybe even an obligation to install technology in cars that changes their driver’s behaviour, to tackle things such as speeding, intoxication or distraction,” said Mr Samuelsson. “We don’t have a firm answer to this question, but believe we should take leadership in the discussion and be a pioneer.”
The problem with speeding is that above certain speeds, in-car safety technology and smart infrastructure design are no longer enough to avoid severe injuries and fatalities in the event of an accident. That is why speed limits are in place in most western countries, yet speeding remains ubiquitous and one of the most common reasons for fatalities in traffic.
Millions of people still get speeding tickets every year, and traffic accident data from the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration shows that 25 per cent of all traffic fatalities in the US in 2017 were caused by speeding.
People simply do not recognise the danger involved in speed, says Jan Ivarsson, one of Volvo Cars’ leading safety experts.
“As humans, we all understand the dangers with snakes, spiders and heights. With speeds, not so much,” said Mr Ivarsson. “People often drive too fast in a given traffic situation and have poor speed adaption in relation to that traffic situation and their own capabilities as a driver. We need to support better behaviour and help people realise and understand that speeding is dangerous.”
Beyond speeding, two other problem areas constitute ‘gaps toward zero’. As obvious a problem as speeding (and as difficult to end) is intoxication. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal in large parts of the world, yet it remains a prime reason for injuries and fatalities on today’s roads.
The other area is distraction. Drivers distracted by their mobile phones or otherwise not fully engaged in driving are another major cause of traffic fatalities. In many ways, they are equally as dangerous as drunk drivers.
What if you could get your Volvo car filled with extended driving experience? That gives you enhanced response, more precise, sharper and intense reactions from the car? Well, you can.
With Polestar Engineered optimisation you will get more out of your Volvo car. A more personal car that suits you and your way of driving. An improved experience, developed by Polestar together with Volvo Cars – and installed by Volvo Cars. That means your warranty and service intervals are unaffected, as are fuel consumption and emission levels.
Your Volvo was created to make you feel connected, secure and comfortable. And now you can experience the excitement of enhanced performance. Our Polestar Optimisation software upgrade will bring heightened engine power, faster, more precise gear capability and fine-tuned throttle response.
Throttle response has been calibrated to respond more quickly to driver commands – something that gives higher precision and better feel.
The automatic gearbox changes gears more quickly to both improve acceleration and to better respond to the driver’s commands, e.g. downshifts before overtaking.
The gears have also been calibrated to exploit the engine’s improved midrange performance. The gearbox also avoids changes when cornering at high g-forces (where possible) for better stability.
The engine and gearbox have been calibrated to respond more quickly when the driver releases the accelerator. This makes the car more balanced and predictable when cornering for example.
We have concentrated the power where it is needed most – in the midrange; perfect for overtaking or when on a busy motorway. Combined with faster throttle response and gear changes this makes the car significantly more dynamic to drive.
This feature is included in all new optimisations for AWD vehicles. The feature can retrospectively be added to vehicles which currently have the optimisation via the Service Promise, Total Upgrade or Volvo Selekt Software. The upgrade increases torque distribution to the rear wheels of Volvo cars equipped with all-wheel drive (AWD), for more dynamic driving.
The Polestar Optimisation software for the D5 (68) engine offers an exciting enhancement. Polestar have introduced an “Over boost” function that provides an additional +20nm Torque and +15hp power for up to 20 seconds once the peak power of the engine has been reached. This additional power and torque is over and above the already increased output figures that the Optimisation provides so you get an impressive boost when you need it most. The standard D5 (68) engine produces 235hp and 480nm torque. When this engine is Optimised and is in Over boost mode, the figures are increased to 255hp and 520nm torque.
Boost your driving experience with a Polestar software optimisation, or performance parts. This Volvo-approved upgrade adds more power and torque and is sure to put a smile on your face.