The plug-in hybrid Volvo XC60 and XC90 Recharge are getting a boost in power and efficiency.

    Volvo Cars has announced all its 60- and 90-series PHEVs will get a new battery and a more powerful rear electric motor, which also means range has been increased.

    Production of the updated XC60 and XC90 Recharge will begin later in 2021 ahead of a local introduction in early 2022.

    The new powertrain now has a claimed electric-only range of 90km on the stricter WLTP test cycle. The current XC60 T8 Polestar Engineered and XC90 Recharge have a range of 44km.

    The new battery is now an 18.8kWh unit, up from 11.6kWh, while the rear electric motor outputs 108kW of power.

    That means Recharge T8 models now have a total system output of 339kW, up from 300kW.

    They’re now the most powerful Volvo models ever produced, exceeding the 311kW output of the XC60 T8 Polestar Engineered that’s been discontinued locally.

    Volvo says the electric motor increases power to the rear wheels by 65 per cent and, combined with the larger battery, improves the cars’ all-wheel drive capability.

    The company is rolling out a one-pedal drive feature, with the XC60 one of the initial recipients.

    This will allow drivers to control acceleration and deceleration using only the accelerator pedal, a feature already present in the XC40 Recharge Pure Electric.

    As there’s a considerable increase in range, Volvo estimates the new powertrain can reduce CO2 emissions by around 50 per cent under the WLTP testing cycle.

    Volvo has also made some tweaks to the turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol four-cylinder engine in T8 Recharge models that it says improve fuel efficiency and low-end performance.

    The suite of changes affect not only the XC90 Recharge sold here plus the upcoming XC60 Recharge, but also the PHEV versions of the S60, V60, S90 and V90.

    Volvo Australia discontinued the plug-in hybrid variants of the S60 and V60 in 2020, while the S90 and V90 – never available here as PHEVs – have also been discontinued.

    Despite the axing of the S60 and V60 PHEVs, Volvo offers plug-in hybrid versions of its entire SUV line-up locally.

    It also offers an electric version of the XC40, with a sleeker C40 companion due here next year.

    The company is aiming to sell 1.2 million cars globally by the middle of this decade, and for half of those to be electric vehicles ahead of a switch to an entirely electric line-up by 2030.

    CarExpert reported earlier this year the XC60 Polestar Engineered would be replaced by the XC60 Recharge, using the more powerful T8 plug-in powertrain.

    The XC60 Recharge will lose the old flagship’s sportier suspension tune, manually-adjustable Öhlins shock absorbers and Akebono six-piston brakes with gold calipers, though it’s expected to still offer its full range of luxury accoutrements.

    The specification adjustments means the XC60 Recharge could slide under the $100,000 price barrier the Polestar Engineered sat ever so slightly above.

    All XC60 models are receiving a mild facelift for 2022, which includes a nip-and-tuck up front and a switch to the Android Automotive infotainment operating system.

    All model year 2022 Volvo cars and SUVs will be either mild- or plug-in hybrids or all-electric.

    MORE: Everything Volvo XC60
    MORE: Everything Volvo XC90

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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