Volvo's next plug-in hybrids: 3-cylinder engine, smaller cars


Volvo 40.1 concept

Volvo 40.1 concept

Enlarge Photo

Volvo currently offers plug-in hybrid powertrains in its top models—the XC90 SUV, S90 sedan, and V90.

As the Swedish automaker redesigns its lower-level models, it will add plug-in hybrid options to them as well.

But whereas the current T8 "Twin Engine" powertrain uses a 4-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive, other models will use a downsized setup.

CHECK OUT: Volvo will build compact electric car in 2019, along with larger model (May 2016)

Volvo's next "Twin Engine" plug-in hybrid powertrain will be based around a 3-cylinder engine, with front-wheel drive, reports Green Car Congress (via Charged EVs).

That powertrain will launch next year, said Mats Andersson, Volvo's Senior Director of Electric Propulsion Systems, at the SAE 2017 Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Technologies Symposium in San Diego.

Plug-in hybrids with this powertrain will be followed in 2019 by all-electric models, as well as a new 48-volt mild-hybrid system, Andersson said.

Volvo 40.2 concept

Volvo 40.2 concept

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Whereas the current T8 plug-in hybrid powertrain is intended to match the performance of larger 6- and 8-cylinder engines, the new powertrain will aim to match 4-cylinder and smaller-displacement six-cylinder engines.

The new powertrain's 3-cylinder engine will be teamed with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission and 55-kilowatt (73 horsepower) electric motor.

A 9.7-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack will provide an electric range of 50 kilometers (31 miles), Volvo's Andersson said.

MORE: Most powerful Volvo ever is a plug-in hybrid SUV. Really. (Jun 2016)

That's likely as measured on the European testing cycle; a comparable U.S. EPA figure would be somewhat lower.

This powertrain will likely be used in a range of cars based on Volvo's new Compact Modular Architecture platform.

The CMA platform will support smaller cars than the large and mid-size models using the SPA platform introduced by the XC90, S90, and V90.

Volvo 40.1 concept

Volvo 40.1 concept

Enlarge Photo

Virtually every Volvo production model will be based on one of these two platforms within a few years.

Volvo hasn't confirmed whether models based on the CMA platform will be sold in the U.S., however.

In 2019, Volvo will also introduce a 48-volt mild-hybrid system for use with both gasoline and diesel engines.

It will use a 10-kw (13.4-hp) electric motor at launch, with plans to upgrade to a 15-kw (20.1-hp) motor later on.

Volvo 40.1 concept

Volvo 40.1 concept

Enlarge Photo

The motors will provide limited assistance to a car's internal-combustion engine, and will draw power from a 0.25-kwh lithium-ion battery.

Also in 2019, Volvo plans to launch the first of what will likely be multiple all-electric production cars, which may use both the CMA and SPA platforms.

Volvo hopes to sell a total of 1 million electrified models—encompassing both plug-in hybrids and battery-electric cars—by 2025, and expects these models to comprise 10 percent of its sales by 2020.

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