Sticking with the electric car theme Siddharth recommends an easy way to transition to full electrics after experiencing Volvo's latest XC60
VOLVO IS ON A ROLL THESE DAYS. EACH OF ITS new models seems to be a sure-fire hit thanks to cutting edge design, efficient engines and superb cabin trims. After the XC90 and S90/V90, the XC60 is now taking the charge forward – and let's not forget the much talked about XC40 that has also been unveiled recently. The XC60 uses the same SPA platform (scalable product architecture) that has been launched in many markets and India will get it soon too. It is also a nominee for the 2018 World Car Awards. While we have tested the diesel and petrol variants on the global drive a few months ago, I recently had the chance to also drive the twin engine (plug-in hybrid) variant while on a trip to Sweden. The car uses the same powertrain as the twin-engine XC90, but since the XC60 weighs almost 200kg less, it performs more efficiently on the compact SUV. The twin engine uses 314bhp, 2-litre, 4-cylinder turbocharged and supercharged petrol engine that drives the front wheels.
And an 86bhp electric motor that powers the rear axle, and uses a 10.4kWh battery pack. The car has almost 50km it can go on purely electric drive. Given the added weight of the battery pack, while the XC60 twin engine is no firestarter, its performance and silent take off will impress you. Its fit and trim quality is also right up there. And I genuinely believe that when we get the XC60 the hybrid should be offered as a variant too. And not just in some crazy high-end trim – complete with a champagne cooler and crystal flutes (like the Excellence trim on offer with the XC90 plug-in that does sell in India at an exorbitant price) – but instead in a reasonably well-loaded avatar that doesn’t have a break-the-bank price tag.
Why do I think that is important you might ask? After all the efficient 2-litre 4-cylinder diesels are doing the job for Volvo, by also being green besides being the preferred option in India. Well, many reasons, but chief among them – our move towards electrics. Yes we have a declared target and it's a stiff one. Every car and bike and bus and truck on the road (oh and scooter and minivan and SUV and minibus and MPV) must be electric by 2030 according to our transport minister. Now scoff all you like, and roll your eyes as many times too – but whether or not India meets that target, the ship has sailed. We will go electric (as things today) sooner than later. Now much has been said about how we will get there and I agree with some of those theories, but not all. It will be tough to imagine all vehicles selling with fossil fuel driven internal combustion engines until March 31, 2030, with the next day putting a stop to it. No, we need to get there by transitioning. One way to do that is to adopt the practice of charging vehicles. Smaller city runabouts – two or four wheeled ones – that charge quickly and have a range that allows for city usage is one step. And I figure a slew of these are on the anvil. And then there's the theory of the plug-in hybrids. They will help reduce the burden on oil demand gradually and also allow for a quicker acceptance of plug-ins without the range anxiety.
And allowing cars like the XC60 to come in with such options (even if there is no direct incentive from the government for a plugin hybrid) will only spur consumer demand. And that will drive the need for others to bring in such models, even Volvo to offer a hybrid option even on say an XC40, and eventually the mass brigade adopting it too. So for starters, I hope we get a decent trim option of the XC60 twin-engine. ⌧
Hybrids, the plug-in kind are a good way to transition to all