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Discussion Starter #1
Starting to take a more serious look at product roadmaps over the next few years. After many years of conventional hybrids, Toyota is going hybrid-only on a few new-for-2021 models (Venza, Sienna). I'm a bit mystified on why Volvo opted out of this level of electrification? To me:

-- Mild hybrid - Essentially glorified stop-start, with no electric propulsion whatsoever; a bit of e-boost, otherwise pretty much useless
-- PHEV - Plenty of complexity + cost; current XC90 delivers a whopping 18 miles of range in exchange for this?
-- BEV - Ultimate goal (and a good one), but not yet the time for us given our affinity for long family roadtrips combined with charging network anxiety

So, why Volvo didn't lead with standard conventional hybrids starting back in MY 2016? Or make the move since then? Mild hybrid seems like a limited, shallow path. PHEV is compromised transition/bridge technology often just for ZEV compliance cars, and BEV just doesn't have enough charging infrastructure in place yet.

Next car will be a new family hauler, at first look a Toyota "conventional" hybrid is our sweet spot. But can't bear the thought of another minivan, and Highlander remains too small. RXL not even competitive and just brutally ugly (I've read next-gen RX might have competitive 3-row, however). Next gen MDX also on watch list, but there's been no buzz about continuing Sport Hybrid and new rumors of further launch delays into CY2021.

Will SPA 2 PHEV bring skateboard battery w/ longer range that makes it worth the complexity and cost? Kind of like Toyota figured out w/ RAV4 Prime (so far just a compliance car)? I wouldn't expect 42 miles, but 30 would be quite reasonable and worthy of PHEV complexity + cost. And/or at least with ~16 kWh, to max Federal tax credit in USA?

But dad's next car will follow later in the decade. Perhaps I'll get myself a Volvo EV for my 60th birthday.
 

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IMHO plain hybrid saves only 15-30% of fuel consumption but need quite some cost: engine cycle tuning, motors in front and also rear to maximize regeneration, a 1.5kwh battery and control module, and maybe different transmission. It is a lot of cost compared to the saving. Add 10kwh battery on top of it and it is a T8.

MHEV saves up to 15% fuel, less than hybrid but much less costly to implement.

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I can't speak for Volvo but I can see some possible reasons.

First, I think they wanted something splashy and exciting. ~400hp with some electric range (particularly good for around town) would fit, something looking too much like (at least functionally) a Lexus hybrid wouldn't. They may have been looking for something more than just compliance, instead wanting an 'electrified' flagship to show that they're serious about shifting from ICEs. As well, Toyota/Lexus already had the conventional hybrid market and they may not have wanted to try to take them on head-to-head like that - the PHEV gives greater differentiation. They'd be helping lead the charge with the PHEV rather than slogging along in Toyotas wake.

Why MEV instead of conventional? Conventional seems to have much of the complexity of the PHEV without the power or electric range. MEV doesn't require nearly the complexity while still allowing them to claim some level of electrification and improved mileage.
 

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If you have 30 minutes, this is a great review of the T8 XC90 by Alex *****. Lots of comparisons to the Germans and Japanese. Hint, the XC90 usually beats the Japanese with better mpg, and better performance, and compares well to the Germans.

 

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Who knows for sure why Volvo skipped the mild-hybrid.

Personally, I am glad Volvo jumped into PHEV as I assume there have been numerous learnings and design enhancements from the SPA fleet.

FWIW, if Volvo would have offered a mild-hybrid (no PHEV), I definitely would have passed - just like I did on the Toyota and Lexus - being a Toyota faithful for many years. Range anxiety on a BEV with no nationwide EVSE charging network was a decisive "no" for me. Thus, PHEV was the way to go as a way to ease towards BEV.

The MY16 XC90 T8 was originally marketed at 25 mile range up through January 2016. Later in 2016, the marketing materials reduced that range estimate to 18 miles Hybrid and 20 miles Pure. With my local driving and desire to have a positive impact on climate change, I justified the modest 25 mile range, and was very disappointed with a 18-20 mile range and 13.3 gal fuel tank. I was certainly hoping for bigger batteries and retro/upgrade options coming to the MY16, but I have come to accept the bigger battery capacities (and larger fuel tank) will not be coming to the MY16. Having saved burning over 1100 gal of fuel in my case over the last four and one-half years is a positive save for the environment.

Anyway, we are here and BEV is around the corner (with PHEV remaining as an option that includes mild hybrid technology to optimize efficiencies). I will likely jump to a BEV in MY23, but I am glad to have the PHEV option. Just my two cents ...
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for above comments.

Yes curious to see BEV lineup expand, although may be later in the decade before I take that plunge.

I see Mild and Conventional hybrids as similar, both ICE with no plug. Except Mild can’t move the car through city congestion, so restarts like stop-start. Hence, useless garbage.

PHEV clearly more complex with ICE and plug. Curious if SPA 2 moves to skateboard battery?

BEV possibly the simplest of all, battery tech and cost aside?
 

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PHEV is a must in the EU as Volvo needs to drastically reduce carbon emissions.

SPA2 platform will get two floorplan alternatives. One for ICE and conventional AWD / One for PHEV and BEV with a specific electrical architecture. SPA2 is a kind of "two platforms in one"
speaking of AWD, a new PTU which disengage the drive shaft when not in used may be introduced
A new miller cycle ICE with a specific 48V mild hybrid system should also be offered
 
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