2015 Volvo XC90 Plug-In Hybrid could arrive summer 2015, execs say

Volvo expects to launch its first plug-in hybrid, an SUV, in the US next year.

Green Car Reports
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Green Car Reports
Volvo Concept XC Coupe
Volvo Concept XC Coupe at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show. Green Car Reports
Green Car Reports
Green Car Reports

When the all-new 2015 Volvo XC90 large crossover utility vehicle goes on sale in the spring of 2015, it will be followed by a gasoline plug-in hybrid version.

And, according to Volvo executives, the plug-in Volvo could come as little as three months after the launch of the regular version.

The timing came from a series of interviews conducted with Volvo's vice president of powertrain, Derek Crabb; its manager of lifecycle, business, and brand strategy, Art Battaglia; and vice president of corporate communications Dean Shaw during a drive event in Las Vegas this week of its new 2015 models.

That means that it's at least possible that the Volvo XC90 Plug-In Hybrid will go on sale before its direct competitor, the Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid.

That vehicle has been repeatedly delayed, and is now expected to be offered in the States sometime in 2015 -- but Mitsubishi officials haven't yet specified a month.

Mitsubishi had already delayed the plug-in hybrid Outlander once, to the autumn of this year, as the company acknowledged last September, before delaying it again earlier this month.

Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid
Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid, 2012 Paris Motor Show. Green Car Reports

The Volvo plug-in hybrid XC90 will use the company's new Drive-E 2.0-liter direct-injected and turbocharged engine, mated to an all-new eight-speed automatic transmission, with a single electric motor in between.

It will also use a second electric motor on the rear axle to provide all-wheel drive, as well as all-electric running under some driving conditions.

The layout is roughly similar to that of the Toyota Highlander Hybrid, which also uses a rear-axle electric motor to provide all-wheel drive, though of course that SUV has no plug.

Volvo already sells a plug-in hybrid V60 wagon in Europe. That car that has been an unexpected success for the company, especially in The Netherlands, where tax incentives are heavily skewed toward promoting plug-in vehicles.

The V60 Plug-In Hybrid, however, uses a diesel engine, and Volvo executives said they hadn't yet been able to make a business case for selling diesel-engined vehicles in the U.S.

Volvo Concept XC Coupe live photos, 2014 Detroit Auto ShowVolvo Concept XC Coupe live photos, 2014 Detroit Auto Show They did say, however, that they're watching the competition--particularly German luxury makers Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz--to see how those brands do with their growing array of diesel offerings.

The all-new Volvo XC90 will be unveiled this fall, in its first ground-up redesign since the large utility vehicle was launched as a 2003 model.

It will use the company's new Scalable Platform Architecture, which is designed to permit a wide variety of midsize and larger vehicles to use the same underpinnings, all of them powered by four-cylinder Drive-E engines developing power of 240 horsepower or more.

Of two concept cars previewing the company's new design language, the recent Volvo Concept XC Coupe is likely closest to showing what the production XC90 will look like -- though of course that version will have four doors, not two.

After several years in which the company had few new products and little news, Volvo is gearing up for the launch of several new products.

Among them are updated 2015 versions of its S60 sedan and XC60 midsize crossover utility vehicle, and the all-new 2015 V60 wagon that debuted at last year's New York Auto Show and is now reaching dealers.

More details about the all-new 2015 Volvo XC90 full-size crossover utility vehicle will emerge later this year.

Volvo provided airfare, lodging, and meals to enable High Gear Media to drive its 2015 vehicles and bring you those reports--look for them shortly.

Source: John Voelcker for Green Car Reports