It’s a shock to realize that the Volvo XC90 large luxury SUV is now in its third model year.
The first new Volvo in more than five years when it debuted in 2016, the seven-seat XC90 was an entirely new design that redefined luxury in a Swedish vein and won numerous awards, including North American Utility Vehicle of the Year.
It also came with a plug-in hybrid version at the top of the line, known as the T8 “Twin Engine” model.
Now, the 2018 Volvo XC90 T8 has received a battery upgrade.
The battery rises in capacity from 9.2 kilowatt-hours to 10.4 kwh—of which 8.0 kwh is now usable—and its EPA-rated range has increased considerably.
The plug-in hybrid XC90 T8 is now rated at 19 miles, up from the previous 14 miles.
Its rated energy efficiency running on battery power and its fuel economy when in hybrid mode have both also risen.
Last year’s XC90 plug-in hybrid earned ratings of 54 MPGe and 25 mpg combined; for 2018, they are 62 MPGe and 27 mpg combined.
MPGe, or Miles Per Gallon Equivalent, is a measure of how far a car can travel electrically on the amount of energy contained in 1 gallon of gasoline.
The plug-in XC90’s new 62-MPGe rating is roughly half that of that most energy-efficient car sold in the U.S. (for 2017, the Hyundai Ioniq Electric), but it’s important to recall this is a large, heavy, luxurious seven-seat SUV.
Volvo has sold more than 3,700 plug-in hybrid XC90s since its U.S. debut in late 2015.
It’s now been joined by a similar T8 version of the smaller five-seat XC60 crossover, whose latest generation debuted this summer as a 2018 model.
Volvo’s first plug-in model, a through-the-road hybrid version of its V90 wagon with a diesel engine, sold well in Europe but was never brought to the U.S., in part because Volvo hasn’t sold diesel vehicles here for 25 years.
That model’s success spurred Volvo to develop both plug-in hybrid versions of all its new models and a battery-electric car that’s expected to debut in 2019.