How did you define how much electric-only range you required in the plug-in XC90 SUV?
It was defined by looking into what the daily commute is for people. We said if we can cope with 80% of daily commutes then that should be enough. The result is 43km.
We had a lot of information from the V60 plug-in hybrid model about how the customer used the car, and we used that data as a starting point.
Did you also use data from previous vehicle programmes to help you decide what powertrain output should be for the XC90 plug-in hybrid?
No, the power output in the end is a race among car manufacturers. People don’t utilise more than 40-50% of what’s available in normal driving, so it’s a waste actually to have these big engines.
When you have a four-cylinder engine you have less friction compared with the six-cylinder. You take away two cylinders and two pistons, and that’s less friction, and from a V8 you have half the friction. To reduce friction in the engine that’s the most important thing for fuel consumption.
But you still have to compete with larger-capacity engines?
All the inline six engines are between 225kW and 260kW and we needed to be in that limit – 225kW wasn’t enough, 240kW is enough. In fact 240kW is 4kW more than our old 4.2-litre V8 engine, so we’re half the size and we have more power. It’s quite an achievement.
How important is infotainment system development?
It’s always been an important part of what we’ve done. I worked with it back in the mid-1980s. But now we have taken a huge step as we wanted to do something fresh.
We wanted to get rid of all the alliances because then we had to pay a lot of licence fees, and we wanted to be independent.
|tags:||April 2016 Volvo Hybrids & EVs|