Volvo will expand T6 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid to other models
Future electric components will be "pioneered" by Polestar.
Steven EwingFormer managing editor
Steven Ewing spent his childhood reading car magazines, making his career as an automotive journalist an absolute dream job. After getting his foot in the door at Automobile while he was still a teenager, Ewing found homes on the mastheads at Winding Road magazine, Autoblog and Motor1.com before joining the CNET team in 2018. He has also served on the World Car Awards jury. Ewing grew up ingrained in the car culture of Detroit -- the Motor City -- before eventually moving to Los Angeles. In his free time, Ewing loves to cook, binge trash TV and play the drums.
With the launch of the 2019 V60 wagon,
introduces a brand-new T6 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid powertrain. It's essentially a less-powerful version of the larger T8 Twin Engine system, and according to Volvo Cars' Senior Vice President Lex Kerssemakers, the T6 will quickly spread to the company's other models.
"We strongly believe in electrification," Kerssemakers told Roadshow at the V60's debut this week in Stockholm, Sweden. "By reducing the horsepower you can reach a different price point. We hope that will further increase popularity."
Indeed, while the T6 Twin Engine uses the same 2.0-liter turbocharged and supercharged gas engine, and the same 65-kilowatt electric motor as the T8, its final output ratings are 340 horsepower and 435 pound-feet of torque. The T8, meanwhile, makes 390 horsepower and 472 pound-feet. The difference in power simply comes from the tune of the 2.0-liter engine. In fact, in the V60, both T6 and T8 are expected to offer 28 miles of electric range, and both models have the same 0-to-62 mph time of 4.8 seconds.
"The electric motor is the same," Kerssemakers said. "We just play with the engine."
Volvo already has a strong electrification strategy in place for the future. Starting next year, every one of the company's models will be electrified in some form, and the T6 Twin Engine powertrain is a key part of this plan.
According to Volvo Cars President and CEO Håkan Samuelsson, the T8 Twin Engine models currently account for around 15 percent of the company's sales.
"We're quite happy with that," Samuelsson told us. But with the introduction of the T6 powertrain, Samuelsson expects plug-in hybrids to account for a "quarter of our sales... within the next two years."
The Polestar connection
Following its acquisition of Polestar, Volvo is turning the performance tuner into a separate brand, with a strong focus on electrification.
"Polestar will be only electric, with the exception of this very first [Polestar 1]," Samuelsson told Roadshow. He assures us that while the two brands will share components, the key is to keep Polestar in a pioneering position.
"Polestar will be pure progressive performance electric," Samuelsson said. "Volvos will be hybrid or electric, but the electric components will, of course, be the same. They will be pioneered in Polestar."
The Tesla Model 3-fighting Polestar 2 will launch in mid-2019. A few years after that, the Polestar 3 will arrive, riding on a new generation of Volvo's SPA platform, with electrification built into its bones. The Polestar 3 will be a pure EV, but it's clear a lot of the new architecture's components will provide electrification opportunities for Volvo models built on the same platform.