- Entire Volvo range to be electrified from July 2021
- Efficient, mild-hybrid, B-series petrols to replace current units
- Diesels to see the axe entirely
- More plug-in hybrid and pure-electric options on the cards
The entire Volvo model line-up in Australia will be electrified from the second half of 2021, the company has today confirmed.
A spokesperson for Swedish brand's local arm told CarAdvice today an array of mild-hybrid petrol engines will be introduced Down Under in July 2021, coinciding with the launch of its 2022 range range in showrooms.
The new, efficiency-oriented petrol engines will not sit alongside the existing non-hybrid petrol and diesel engines, but replace them across the range – meaning Volvo's entire Australian line-up will feature some form of electrification, be it either mild-hybrid, plug-in hybrid or all-electric.
Volvo's mild-hybrid technology pairs a turbocharged petrol engine to a 48-volt battery and an integrated starter-generator (ISG) unit – a compact electric motor replacing a car's traditional starter motor and alternator – to both sharpen engine response at low speeds thanks to a boost from the electrical system, while also, crucially, improving fuel economy.
The battery is then recharged through regenerative braking, which recuperates energy 'lost' under deceleration, and not requiring the system to be externally recharged via a plug.
Above: Volvo XC90 Recharge Plug-in Hybrid, powered by a circa-300kW plug-in hybrid powertrain.
The ISG also allows for quicker activation of the start-stop system when taking off from a standstill.
Joining the mild-hybrid options will be a range of plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrains – badged under Volvo's Recharge sub-brand – which pair a turbo petrol engine with a larger lithium-ion battery pack and a more powerful electric motor, enabling them to drive on electric power alone for distances up to 50km.
Volvo currently offers one plug-in hybrid option in each of its models in Australia – bar the V90 Cross Country, S60 and V60, with the latter pair's PHEV options being discontinued recently – though CarAdvice understands additional PHEV options at different price points and performance levels could be introduced in coming years.
The brand's current PHEV range opens with the 195kW, 1.5-litre three-cylinder XC40 Recharge PHEV, and tops out with the circa-300kW, all-wheel-drive XC90 Recharge PHEV. All-electric driving distances are between 32 and 46km.
The Swedish brand's debut electric vehicle, the XC40 Recharge P8, is due to launch Down Under in the second half of 2021, featuring dual electric motors and a 78kWh battery pack for outputs of 300kW/660Nm and a 418km WLTP-rated range.
On the mild-hybrid front, Volvo's local arm has yet to announce which powertrains will reach Australian shores.
However, given the 48-volt petrol systems will be tasked with replacing conventional petrol and diesel engines across the entire local line-up – from the compact XC40 to the large XC90 – we'd wager most or the full gamut of options available to European customers will be offered in Australia.
The entry-level option in Europe – offered in Sweden with the small XC40 and mid-size XC60 SUVs – is the B4, which pairs a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol four-cylinder with the aforementioned mild-hybrid system for a total of 145kW of power and 300Nm of torque – 5kW more than its T4 petrol equivalent.
Available with a choice of front- or all-wheel drive (AWD), the B4 powertrain can consume as little as 6.5 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres, under the bonnet of an XC40 – 0.7L/100km less than the current T4 petrol engine.
Above: Under the bonnet of a hybrid Volvo V60.
Stepping up to the B5 – available with a choice of front- or all-wheel drive in the XC60, S60 and V60, and AWD only in the XC40, XC90 and V90 Cross Country – retains the 2.0-litre turbo petrol, but ups outputs to 184kW and 350Nm – 1-3kW down over Australian-delivered, T5 petrol Volvo models.
Fuel economy figures for the B5 range from 6.6 to 7.2L/100km, depending on vehicle and alloy wheel size – an improvement of (in the case of the all-wheel-drive XC40) up to 0.7L/100km.
Sitting atop the range is the all-wheel-drive-only B6, available on the V60, XC60, XC90 and V90 Cross Country in Sweden. Revised engine tuning and the addition of a supercharger to the 2.0-litre turbo engine increases outputs to 220kW and 420Nm – down 26kW/20Nm over the most potent version of the comparable T6 petrol engine.
In the XC60, the B6 AWD powertrain pushes the SUV from zero to 100km/h in 6.2 seconds, while consuming 7.2L/100km of fuel – 0.4 seconds slower, but 0.8L/100km more frugal, than an equivalent Australian-delivered XC60 T6 R-Design.
It's worth noting an entry-level B3 powertrain is available with the V60 wagon in Sweden, but its 120kW/265Nm outputs fall short of par for the shrinking mid-size wagon segment.
Additionally, it's possible not all mild-hybrid options will be offered with all models – the structure of the local range will be announced closer to its local arrival next year.
Stay tuned to CarAdvice for more details of Volvo's overhauled, electrified powertrain range, as its launch nears in July 2021.