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Volvo On Call app gets improvements targeted at plug-in hybrid owners

May as well make the most of that battery.

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- 01:41

There's always room to squeak out a little extra efficiency.

Volvo

Trying to maximize the effectiveness of your plug-in hybrid is a delicate dance, figuring out precisely where to run on electricity to keep the gas engine from unnecessarily emitting all sorts of junk. Sure, trial and error will help you figure this out, but if you have one of Volvo's new plug-in hybrids, there's an app to help you.

Volvo announced this week that it has improved its Volvo On Call app, which has existed since 2011 and connects drivers to their car via their iPhone, Android or Windows phone, allowing them to locate their car, lock or unlock the doors or condition the interior before a journey. It can track maintenance needs, and it also offers quick access to the owner's manual. Now it's been boosted further with updates specific to plug-in hybrids.

Volvo PHEV owners will be able to use the app to see just how far they've driven on electricity, and how much electricity and fuel they've consumed across their journeys. In a future update, this service will be enhanced further by showing the PHEV's effect on a driver's carbon footprint, along with an estimate of fuel-cost savings by driving on electricity.

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The updates to Volvo On Call will work with any Volvo PHEV model on the CMA or SPA platform sold after 2015, so it works with both slightly older models and the newer Volvos that carry the Recharge name, which is the official badge for Volvo's new electrified models. It'll work in 47 different countries; Chinese owners will see similar features via WeChat.

This is as good a time as any to bake in these features. Volvo has committed to rolling out at least one electrified variant of every vehicle it produces, and the automaker also intends to debut one new EV every year through 2025. In addition to PHEV variants of everything Volvo currently sells, the automaker will have a fully electric XC40 coming soon, followed by an electric XC90 in 2022.