Volvo’s S90 and V90 Get New Hybrid Powertrain + Extras

Volvo’s S90 and V90 models just go an update including for the first-time mild hybrid powertrains. These new mild hybrid powertrain is available now on every model in the Swedish’ carmakers line up. Volvo claims it offers up to a 15% savings in fuel and emissions.

The system uses a 48v battery with its own integrated starter, generator and energy recovery mechanism. It will be included across the S90 and V90 models and even on the V90 Cross county. This is the first time one of Volvo’s more sport utility models will be fitted with a hybrid system.

Each of the models in question here got some other small upgrades as well. Both models will be getting new, more stylish bumpers with fog lights and new LED taillights will be included on the V90. Models will include sequential indicator lights as well as new paint and wheel options as well.

Refreshed interiors come standard along with advance air cleaning technology which filters the cabin air and even gives an air quality report from the infotainment system. This is the system previously available only on models sold in the Chinese market.

Both models get rear USB-C charging ports (no more 12-volt power which surely some will miss) along with wireless charging being added as an option on many variants. For the audiophiles both the V90 and S90 will get new Bowers and Wilkins sound systems. For the interiors Volvo is offering many new leather-free options for materials.

Additional specs and pricing are not yet available.

Details on Kia’s First Two Plug-In Hybrids

Korean automaker Kia has released details about its very first plug-in hybrids. The release is planned for the UK at the moment. The vehicles are based on the Ceed Sportswagon and the Xceed crossover.

Bot the vehicles are powered by a four-cylinder, 1.6 liter gas engine combined with a 44.5kW electric motor that runs on a 8.9kWh lithium-polymer battery. The outputs of the motors combined add up to 139bhp with 195lb ft in torque. This gives both a 0-62mph rating of 10.8 seconds in the Ceed and spot on 11.0 seconds for the Xceed.

Kia’s first pair of hybrids also share an automatic, dual-clutch six-speed transmission (unlike most hybrids which us a CVT, continuously variable transmission). Kia explained that this prevents energy loss in the powertrain and makes the vehicles more enjoyable to drive.

Kia also used regenerative breaking to capture kinetic energy that would be lost. Combined with all the other technology on board Kia rates the all electric range of the Ceed at 37 miles and 36 for the Xceed. Both the new hybrids will charge in about 2 hours.

Combining the above with regenerative braking that harvests kinetic energy that would otherwise be lost, Kia claims an all-electric range of 37 miles for the Sportswagon and 36 miles for the Xceed. Both can be charged in around 2hr 15min via a 3.3kW AC charger.

Kia is offering a towing pack for each vehicle, unusual in a hybrid. Kia has released no specs on towing power.

Kia is taking orders for the Ceed and Xceed now and expects the first vehicles to roll out in April 2020.


Volvo Will Pay British Customers’ Electric for a Year

In an effort to encourage drivers of their plug-in hybrids to use them in the greenest way possible, Volvo is offering new hybrid customers a free year of electricity.

Volvo is calling it their “Take Charge” offer. This was announced when they revealed the new XC40 Recharge EV recently. This incentive is available to any British customer who chooses one of several plug-in hybrids. The offer is good through June 2020.

While Volvo has an electric version of any car in their cadre, the plug-in hybrid style of vehicle is available in their V90, V60, S60, S90, XC40, XC 60 and XC90 models.

Volvo will require users to record their average electrical use for a charge through the “On Call” app. Customers will then get a rebate based on their average energy usage.

Volvo stated that their purpose was multi-faceted, they want make it clear that hybrids are a sustainable transitionary vehicle or a greener option of those who don’t favor full-electrics. Also, to fight the belief that plug-in hybrids are bought only because of the tax incentives then never plugged in.

Supermini Honda Jazz Goes Hybrid-Only in Europe

At launch next year the newest generation Honda Jazz will be offered as hybrid-only. The best-selling Honda model in the UK is set to be revealed at the October motor show in Tokyo. It is thought the Jazz will be the first in the Honda stable to go hybrid-only, though the brand promised to go hybrid only in Europe by 2025.

At this time, the only model that offers hybrid at all is the CR-V. This hybrid replaced a former diesel variant. Honda is still selling a gasoline version of the CR-V in Europe as well. The CR-V hybrid as done well for Honda, accounting for an impressive 60% of model sales.

To follow the hybrid Jazz in 2020 will be the electrified version of the Civic in 2021.

The Jazz, more than likely, will take is powertrain setup from the CR-V hybrid. The CR-V employs two electric motors and a 2.0 liter gas engine combined with a CVT transmission. The Jazz will, however, have a smaller gas engine and less power given its smaller size and “supermini” status.

Honda’s goal with the new Jazz is for it to remain familiar to old customers—remember its Honda’s best European seller—yet bring in new customers to Honda through the entry level Jazz model.


Audi A6 Gets Upgrades

Audi’s new A6 will get a “mild-hybrid technology” upgrade–the upgrades will be significant compared to the old model and will be revealed in Geneva.

Audi said the A6 will be available with the same autonomous driving capability on the A8 sedan and A7 fastback. The sensors bring more active safety functions. No hands-free driving from Audi until legislation changes though.

One feature gets the new model to closer to self-driving, an auto park feature.  On the new A6 is the ability to command the car to self-park via a button on the myAudi smartphone app. The car will follow the command only after everyone has exited the vehicle.

The car will feature two 3.0-liter V-6 engines. These will come in either gasoline or diesel, both fitted with mild-hybrid technology that delivers electric power via a 48-volt belt-driven start-alternator. The lithium ion battery collects energy that would be wasted in braking and helps the car under acceleration which ultimately reduces fuel usage.

Nissan to Release “Leaf” Model in Asia-Pacific Market

On Tuesday Nissan reported it would launch their new, all electric version of its very popular Leaf in 7 Asian and Pacific markets. They even hinted at looking into several other markets with the success of the Leaf being so wide spread. At the moment electrics don’t represent much of the SE Asian market. This is often due to affordability and lack of recharge stations.

Low emission vehicles are the future and automakers are all making their bid in markets the world over.

Japan’s number 2 car maker, Nissan, will bring the Leaf to Hong Kong, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand.

Chevrolet’s New All Electric Bolt EV

The Chevy Bolt EV is an all new model—not to be confused with the similarly named Volt which is a plug-in hybrid with far less electric range. The new Bolt EV boasts a 238-mile EPA-certified driving range with surprisingly powerful electric motor. The Bolt is also a roomy, practical hatchback with lots of leg room and cargo space all at a very affordable price.

The LT base model includes: a 10.2 inch touchscreen (Apple CarPlay and Android Auto ready); proximity-key entry and push-button start; backup camera; 4g LTE with mobile Wi-Fi. That is a lot of modern features in a base model. Coming in at just under $40,000 dollars (and considering the $7,500 tax credit available for electric-vehicle buyers) Chevrolet potentially has a real winner on their hands—ultimately not as “cool” as a Tesla, but the pricing and feature set seems set to place a lot more drivers behind the wheel of an electric car than more expensive competitors.

At these prices many might consider the DC fast-charging package for $750 (recommended by Car and Driver). There is also the $555 Comfort and Convenience package that includes heated front seats and steering wheel. And finally the $495 Driver and Confidence package that favors features like blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alerts and rear parking sensors.


VW Cross Coupe Concept

The VW Cross Coupe GTE is a five passenger hybrid SUV. The talk is it will become a seven seater when it goes into production in Chattanooga lat 2016. (GT stands for Grand Tourer or Gran Turismo and E as in electric – thus GTE.)

It combines 276 hp 3.6 liter VR6 engine with two electric motors and all-wheel drive. The front electric motor is 54 hp and the rear is 114 hp. When fully charged, the lithium ion battery will go 20 miles when on electric power only.

There are different operating modes:
E-mode – all electric (up to 20 miles – uses rear motor only)
Hybrid – default mode – uses engine and both motors – emphasis on fuel efficiency
GTE – uses engine and both motors – emphasis on performance
Off-road – front motor will act as a generator to ensure power makes way to rear motor and wheels – emphasis that power gets to all four wheels
Battery Hold/Battery Charge – allows to plan ahead for city driving and keeps energy levels constant and will continue to charge while driving.

The interior boasts a 10.1 inch display for information. The main instruments are digital even though they may look like traditional analog.

VW Cross Coupe GTE Concept


Another interesting car: Toyota i-ROAD


The Victor crew found a “car” at the New York International Auto Show that is more like a motorcycle-car hybrid. It is the Toyota i-ROAD. It is perfect for urban areas. It can seat two (if you put a small person in the back.)

There are two wheels in the front that move up and down independently but synchronize with the driver’s steering. You can lean just like you do on a motorcycle. Two of them will fit in a parking space. It is the answer for those who may want a motorcycle but don’t want to get wet on a rainy day. Its lithium-ion batteries will go a little over 30 miles on one charge.

See it in action:

Cutting Edge Hybrid Searching For Thrill Seekers

In this the term “hybrid” is referring to yet another vehicle running on a combination of gasoline and battery power. This time Polaris is at the wheel and has taken their years of ATV, motorcycle and snowmobile engineering to present a street vehicle that combines a bit of them all.

The Victor crew found The Slingshot, a three-wheeled street vehicle, is clearly targeting thrill seekers who are looking for something a little safer than a motorcycle. The vehicles angled, armor-like side panels and tube-framing make it look like something out of the newest Batman incarnations. The front is composed of a double-wishbone suspension, coil-over shocks and a sway bar while the back sports a single aluminum swing arm.

Although it is driven like a car (it really looks like some kind of sci-fi dune buggy) operators will require a motorcycle license as it doesn’t meet crash test standards or have air bags. It does, however, have lateral seating, stability control, antilock breaks. And last, but not least, a glove box. Oh, and you’ll have to wear a helmet while operating it. It is a far different animal than the up and coming Can-Am Spyder and is more on par in size with a Mazda MX-5 Miata. The standard version will come in around 19K while the “luxury version” will come in around 24K—it will include wind screen, larger wheels, an entertainment system with Bluetooth and a backup camera. The Slingshot is strictly a topless roadster, making it a fair-weather ride. But, just in case, the seats are waterproof and there are lockable bins in the rear for storage.

It is good to see Polaris innovating in area of the recreational production vehicles as there are is a market for forward thinking thrill seekers who are looking for something a little bit different.

Joe Victor