Volvo XC60 Electric Recharge
The $55,000 2022 XC60 recharge got a noticeable battery and electric powertrain upgrade over previous models. Starting at about 19 miles of all-EV range, the 35 miles on the 2022 version represents a commendable total. The average American trip is less than 30 miles round trip.
The battery goes from 11.6 kWh (9.1 kWh usable) to 18.7 kWh (14.8 kWh usable). The larger battery allows Volvo to qualify for a full $7,500 US tax credit (up from $5,500 last year). As you might imagine, you can charge the battery overnight on a Level 1 charger or in three to four hours with a Level 2 charger. There’s no CCS combo DC fast charging option here.
The electric motor also jumped from 87 hp to 142 hp. This means that in pure electric mode, you can drive well to highway speeds and beyond. I easily managed to keep up with the traffic while climbing a steep grade into the scenic Coachella area overlooking the EV alone.
Rather than complicate matters, Volvo uses a 313-horsepower T8 gas engine on the front wheels and puts the electric motor between the rear wheels. This theoretically means that if one powertrain fails, the other can limp at home. The batteries live along the center of the vehicle where the axle will be on an AWD ICE, so there isn’t much, if anything, in the space from the ICE version. However, there is a large ICE snowmobile at the front, so there’s no empty space to talk about.
Allow me to digress slightly:
If I was designing this car from scratch and it should be a PHEV, I would be inverting the power output from the EV and ICE. Instead of 2/3 of the power coming from the ICE and 1/3 of the electricity, I’d do the opposite. Choose a smaller, more efficient 150 hp ICE that often serves as a backup alternator. Then with the resource savings, double the horsepower in the EV powertrain with 50+ miles of battery. This way, not only will you be able to drive around twice the city in pure mode, you’ll also get more EV power and the gas engine will only start driving on long highways where production is more sustainable.
The Volvo XC60 PHEV makes sense in the short term
There is a school of thought that when the supply of batteries is restricted (it currently exists and seems to be in the near future), the best use of these limited batteries is to put them in as many cars as possible. Instead of one BEV getting an 80kWh battery, four cars could get a 20kWh battery, and in theory you’d have four cars traveling 40 miles a day on all-electric instead of one. Sure, all four cars will need to use gas on longer trips, but these are theoretically few and far between. In general, you get more EV miles with four PHEVs than one BEV and three ICEs while the batteries are on. In this scenario, you’d go from 25% of the mileage on one EV and three ICEs to somewhere around 75% with four PHEVs. Just something to think about.
A look at the powertrain in the XC60:
Google-based maps and entertainment
The XC60 Recharge also gains access to Volvo’s Google-based central operating system, which excels at voice commands and mapping. Google also gives access to different music platforms like Youtube Music, Spotify, and more. You can also play CarPlay and Android Auto on top of that, and everything sounds great on the Bowers & Wilkins speaker system.
Using voice to communicate with the car is a game-changer for ease and security, and with Google’s best-in-class voice recognition, the car is pretty good at recognizing what you’re saying, or trying to say.
However, the central 12-inch screen isn’t particularly large, so finding menu items can sometimes be a distraction. Fortunately, most of what you want to do can be done via voice or seen on the screen behind the steering wheel or the cool head-up display.
However, Google Maps is the gold standard, and having them spaced across two screens makes following directions easy.
One pedal driving
Most electric vehicles have some form of one-pedal driving but the previous XC60’s recharge did not. This year the XC60 is getting that in hybrid form. Double click the drive and you will be in “B” mode, recovery is powerful. For the record, I think this should be the default in electric cars and I’ve expressed my frustration with other vehicles that double-click one pedal like the Chevy Bolt. At least give us the option to have one pedal default in settings?
In terms of braking power, it is impressive. Just using the rear wheels it could come to a full stop fairly quickly and run the batteries to do so. An additional benefit of using regenerative brakes is reduced wear and tear on conventional resistance brakes. This means less brake dust and less brake lining replacement over the life of the vehicle.
Color surprised me. This is the plug-in hybrid that I would recommend to anyone who wants to dip their toes into the electric world but is too afraid to leave gasoline behind for one reason or another. Built solidly, it has an excellent electric-vehicle range of 35 miles (more than the average Americans put on their car every day), and it’s very spacious and comfortable for a mid-size SUV with two engines.
Will I buy this for myself?
I’ve spent a decade owning a pure EV, and the internal combustion powertrain load seems redundant at this point. But I may be out of the ordinary. The truth is that not many people are ready to take the all-electric leap and the Volvo XC60 Recharge is a great gateway to pure EV bliss.
The Google-based infotainment system is great, as are interior space, design and driving dynamics including an active chassis with self-adaptive all-wheel air suspension. The 2022 XC60 Recharge is a comfortable, fun and engaging driving experience.
Check local rates and great discounts on Volvo XC60 2022 recharges here
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