2015 Volvo XC90 teased during presentation - Image via FeberEnlarge Photo
VOLVO XC90 PLUG-IN HYBRID: Spring 2015
The next generation of Volvo's legendary large SUV, the XC90, will be unveiled sometime next month, hitting showrooms before the end of the year. And Volvo executives told us in May that the plug-in hybrid model would arrive "a few months after" the gasoline version--not years later.
Volvo's done very well in Europe with its diesel plug-in hybrid model of the V60 wagon, but plug-in hybrids for the U.S. will use a gasoline engine.
The company likely feels, with some justification, that the complexity of its first-ever U.S. model with a plug is enough to manage--without the added challenge of introducing diesels, which it hasn't sold here in decades.
BMW X5 e-Drive plug-in hybrid prototype, test drive, Woodcliff Lake, NJ, April 2014Enlarge Photo
BMW X5 e-DRIVE: Fall 2015 or Winter 2016?
In April, we drove a prototype of the plug-in hybrid BMW X5 crossover utility vehicle. BMW execs said then that it would be more than a year until it arrived on the market, so we're figuring fall of next year, perhaps into the following winter.
It won't be the first plug-in BMW by a long shot, since the 2014 BMW i3 battery-electric car (with a range-extender option) is now on sale, and the 2014 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sport coupe will follow within a few months.
But the plug-in hybrid X5 will be the first plug-in adaptation of an existing model to be sold in volume, not to mention the first to be built in the U.S.
Whether it reaches the market before or after the 2016 Mercedes-Benz ML-Class plug-in hybrid that's expected sometime during Fall 2015 or Winter 2016 remains to be seen.
NOTE: Other auto makers as well will be launching plug-in hybrid SUVs in the next three or four years. They include Audi, Bentley, Range Rover, and most likely several others as well.
The four vehicles above are the ones we're most sure will arrive during the next eighteen months.