Volvo has launched its new XC90 T8 plug-in hybrid SUV in the US with a playful video campaign that sees the new model drawing power from passing cars, while at the same time taunting drivers and other manufacturers.
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The new PHEV variant of Volvo’s flagship SUV is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine paired to an electric motor.

The XC90 T8 has a combined output of 300kW, sips fuel at a claimed rate of 2.1l/100km on the combined cycle and sprints from 0-100km/h in 5.6 seconds.

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Volvo’s video campaign turns the wasted energy from other cars into electric power to fuel the batteries in the new XC90 T8.

In the two-minute video, titled “Highway Robbery”, Volvo creates a hydro-electric charging system with a special mat laid across a southern California highway that pushes water into a generator every time a car drives over it.

The generator converts the hydraulic energy into electricity, charging an XC90 T8 that is plugged into the generator on the side of the road. A large screen connected to the illuminated charge station taunts passing drivers with messages like “Thank you, blue Volkswagen” and “Thanks for the extra miles, Jeep”.

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Although not mentioned in the video, the XC90 T8 offers an electric-only range of 40 kilometres, slightly outdoing the 31km offered by BMW's recently launched X5 xDrive40e).

In Australia, the Volvo XC90 T8 R-Design starts at $122,950 plus on-road costs.