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FREE electricity for Volvo plug-in hybrid drivers

Volvo plug-in free electricity offer

Volvo is giving away FREE electricity with every new plug-in hybrid vehicle sold from now until June 2020.

The electricity costs for charging the car will be calculated from May 2020 and repaid to the customer at the end of the 12-month period. Energy used will be monitored via the Volvo On Call app.

This offer applies to the entire range of Volvo plug-in hybrid vehicles, including the new XC40 T5 – the most inexpensive model, with prices starting from £41,000.

Plug-in hybrid versions of the S60, V60, S90, V90, XC60 and XC90 are also included.

Volvo is offering the deal to private and business customers, and it’s the company car driver who will receive the refund, not the employer. Volvo says this is to encourage fleet users to keep the hybrid battery charged.

‘Good habit’

Volvo free electricity offer

Kristian Elvefors, Volvo Car UK managing director, said: “At Volvo, in keeping with our Swedish roots, we’ve always taken a keen interest in looking after the environment. Our recently stated ambition to become a carbon-neutral company by 2040 shows we are serious about addressing climate change.

“It’s crucial that we help our plug-in hybrid customers understand how they can make the most of their car’s electric potential. So, by meeting their electricity charging costs for a year, we can encourage them to develop the good habit of regularly recharging their car’s battery, as well as saving them money at the same time.”

From next year, new visitors to the Volvo website will be asked whether they want to charge a car with a plug, or not. The company will also introduce new Recharge branding for its growing range of plug-in hybrid and all-electric cars.

Its aim is to reduce tailpipe emissions by 50 percent by 2025 and to become a climate-neutral business by 2040.

The Take Charge free electricity offer is valid for orders placed from 16 October 2019 to 30 June 2020. Customers must keep the vehicle for 12 months to receive the refund.

Volvo uses blockchain tech to make EVs more ethical

Blockchain Volvo battery ethics

Volvo plans to keep track of the raw materials used in its electric car batteries. By using blockchain technology, its intention is to ensure they are ethically sourced. 

The announcement follows soon after Volvo’s first fully electric car, the XC40 Recharge, was revealed. 

Blockchain Volvo battery ethics

A blockchain is a mass of digital records linked with cryptography. At each step, the journey of the material is documented. It allows Volvo to be sure it isn’t paying into unethical companies or conflicts along the supply chain.

Precious materials like cobalt, which are in high demand for car batteries, are often found in volatile and politically precarious regions of the world.

From when they are dug out of the ground to when they are used in a battery, Volvo wants its raw materials to meet guidelines set by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). 

Blockchain Volvo battery ethics

“We have always been committed to an ethical supply chain for our raw materials,” said Martina Buchhauser, head of procurement at Volvo.

“With blockchain technology, we can take the next step towards ensuring full traceability of our supply chain and minimising any related risks, in close collaboration with our suppliers.”

Volvo launches its fastest-accelerating car EVER

Volvo S60 T8 Twin Engine Polestar Engineered

The new Volvo S60 Polestar Engineered will accelerate to 62mph in just 4.4 seconds. This makes it the fastest-accelerating Volvo production car ever made.

That’s quicker than a Porsche 718 Cayman GTS.

What’s more, the Volvo S60 Polestar Engineered could deliver up to 27.3 miles of all-electric range and fuel economy of 104.5mpg. Proof that you can keep Greta happy and have fun at the same time.

It’s all thanks to an upgraded version of Volvo’s T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid powertrain. Power from the 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine is up from 303hp to 318hp to deliver a total system output of 405hp.

Meanwhile, software changes to the automatic transmissions bring quicker gearshifts and minimise the changes when cornering quickly.

New Volvo S60 Polestar Engineered

The S60 is one of three Polestar Engineered cars in the Volvo range, the others being the V60 and XC60. They’re set apart thanks to 19-inch Y-spoke alloy wheels (21-inch for XC60), black front grille surround, black chrome exhaust tailpipes, plus gold brake calipers, seatbelts and Polestar badges.

Under the skin upgrades include Brembo brakes for the S60 and V60, Akebono brakes for the XC60, along with Ohlins adjustable shocks and a strut bar shared with the 600hp Polestar electric hybrid coupe.

The S60 and V60 Polestar Engineered cars are based on the R-Design Plus model, with the addition of a heated steering wheel, Harman Kardon audio system and aluminium front tread plates.

The XC60 Polestar Engineered is based on the R-Design Pro, but adds metallic paint.

Volvo S60 Polestar Engineered fastest-acclerating

The price for the fastest-accelerating production Volvo? The S60 Polestar Engineered costs £56,105, while the slightly slower V60 (0-62mph in 4.6 seconds) costs £57,205. You’ll pay £64,545 for the XC60, which can sprint to 62mph in 5.4 seconds.

Matt Galvin, Volvo Car UK’s sales director, said: “These new Polestar Engineered cars perfectly illustrate Volvo’s approach to electrified performance.

Volvo S60 Polestar Engineered interior

“By combining a powerful plug-in hybrid set-up with the engineering expertise of Polestar, they offer scintillating performance with the ability to run in electric-only mode, thus creating no tailpipe emissions.

“We’re sure this pure, progressive performance will be a hit with customers who want a distinctive, exclusive and efficient high-performance car.”

All Polestar Engineered cars are available order now, with first deliveries expected by the end of the year.

Volvo S60 Polestar Engineered seats

Volvo XC40 Recharge

Volvo XC40 Recharge: electric SUV has sports car speed, 250-mile range

Volvo XC40 Recharge

Volvo has revealed its first ever all-electric car, the XC40 Recharge. An EV version of the increasingly popular XC40 compact SUV, it combines a 0-62mph time of 4.9 seconds with an EV driving range of nearly 250 miles. 

The XC40 Recharge P8 AWD has two electric motors, giving a total of 408hp. It’s a planet-saving performance car in sheep’s clothing. 

Volvo XC40 Recharge

As for the name ‘Recharge’, that’s Volvo’s branding for all its future electric cars and it’s going to release one every year between now and 2025. 

Volvo XC40 Recharge

By then, EVs will comprise 50 percent of its overall sales. The rest? Electrified plug-in hybrids (with not a normal engine in sight). 

Volvo says the XC40 Recharge’s batteries will, ahem, recharge from zero to 80 percent in 40 minutes. Total battery capacity is 75 kWh. 

Volvo XC40 Recharge

The electric XC40 will go on sale in 2020, and Volvo says it will build its website around promoting EVs. When customers visit, they will first be asked if they want a Volvo Recharge or not – making them consider electric right from the start. 

“We have said this several times before: for Volvo Cars, the future is electric,” said CEO Hakan Samuelsson. “Today we take a major new step in that direction with the launch of our fully electric XC40 and the Recharge line.” 

Recharge will also comprise plug-in hybrids: Volvo is the only firm to sell a plug-in hybrid variant of every model it sells. 

Volvo XC40 Recharge

The XC40 Recharge is also the first Volvo to feature a Google Android-based infotainment system. This, says the firm, takes connectivity to a new level. 

It is fully integrated with the Volvo On Call connectivity system and, for plug-in hybrid drivers, will let them show off to their friends how much time they spend driving in electric mode. 

To meet demand for Recharge models, Volvo plans to triple production capacity for its electrified cars. 

Driver back pain costing the country billions

Uncomfortable car seats

Are you sitting comfortably? Not if new research into back pain caused by uncomfortable car seats is anything to go by.

More than a third of UK drivers have taken at least one day off work every year for back pain. The cost to the economy is a staggering £8.8 billion in productivity.

The survey of 2,000 drivers who use a car for work purposes shines a light on our inability to sit comfortably behind the wheel. Back pain affects 80 percent of the population and is a leading cause for sick leave in the UK.

Of the 32.4 million people employed in the UK, more than two-thirds use their car to drive to work or for work purposes.

Of these, 12 percent have taken two days off for back pain, while 13 percent have been off for four days. Five percent were absent for a full working week, and 5 percent asked for seven or more days of rest.

According to Volvo Car UK, the company behind the research, seat comfort is a top priority for 63 percent of UK drivers. Around a fifth of drivers have actually swapped a car for a model with more comfortable seats.

‘Comfortable and pain-free’

Driver back pain

Kristian Elvefors, Volvo Car UK’s managing director, said: “Back pain from poor quality car seats is a bigger problem than many think.

“Not only is it costing the UK economy billions in lost productivity as employees take sick leave, but poor quality car seats are also placing an unnecessary burden on the NHS, costing hospitals and GP surgeries hundreds of millions a year.

Volvo is committed to ensuring that all of its customers, regardless of shape or size, find the seats in their car incredibly comfortable and pain-free.” 

Tommy Apell, senior attribute leader for seat comfort at Volvo, added: “At Volvo, we specifically opt to use softer foam compounds for our seats to ensure the fit is comfortable across all body shapes and sizes.

“We also specially tune our seat springs for improved comfort, with the ergonomics team working alongside designers to ensure things like seat stitching don’t create pressure points for drivers and passengers. Our lengthy development and testing programme means new seats take up to five years to move from concept to finished product.”

The electric Volvo XC40 will have a 30-litre ‘frunk’

eletric Volvo XC40 front grille

The all-electric Volvo XC40 will be unveiled on the 16 October 2019. Ahead of its reveal, Volvo has released new information about its first battery-powered vehicle.

That it will look similar to the standard XC40 is to be expected – why change a winning formula? – but the electric version will feature a few notable changes. 

A unique, covered front grille in body colour will allow XC40 drivers to showcase their green credentials. Fittingly, the electric XC40 will be offered in a new Sage Green metallic paint option – one of eight exterior hues.

A contrasting black roof will come as standard, while two new 19- and 20-inch wheel options will be available.

electric Volvo XC40 is coming

Inside, a new driver interface specifically designed for Volvo’s electric cars will deliver relevant information to the driver. To further emphasise the XC40’s planet-friendly nature, the carpets are made of recycled materials. 

Because the XC40 was designed from the ground up with electrification in mind, the battery pack is integrated into the floor and has no impact on interior space. In fact, the electric XC40 will offer greater practicality, thanks to a 30-litre ‘frunk’ located under the front bonnet.

electric Volvo XC40 frunk

Robin Page, head of design at Volvo, said: “The roots of Scandinavian design are based on visual clarity and the reduction of element. The XC40 is a great example of this.

“Its bold, instantly recognisable design is now even sleeker and more modern in the all-electric version. Without the need for a grille we have created an even cleaner and more modern face, while the lack of tailpipes does the same at the rear. This is the approach we will explore more and more as we continue down the road of electrification.”

Last month, Volvo unveiled a new T5 Twin Engine petrol-electric hybrid powertrain for the XC40 compact SUV, which is its best-selling model in the UK. It means that Volvo is the first car manufacturer to offer plug-in hybrid versions across its entire model range.

Deliveries of the XC40 plug-in hybrid will begin in February 2020. There’s no word on when the electric XC40 will be available. More details will be announced following its launch in two weeks.

Volvo S60 gets 390hp hybrid, Polestar power to follow

Volvo S60 T8 hybrid

Volvo has given the S60 a stocky set of hybrid muscles. Meet the new T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid. It’s got 390hp courtesy of a turbocharged four-cylinder engine connected to an 87hp electric motor.

S60 T8 Twin Engine: 0-62 in 4.6 seconds, 176mpg

Volvo S60 T8 hybrid

The T8’s clever powertrain delivers the best of both worlds. When you’re not getting to 62mph in 4.6 seconds, you could be getting a WLTP-tested 176mpg. Quite what it can do in the real-world remains to be seen, but it should be impressive for the performance of the car.

It has an electric-only range of 36 miles, and the overall CO2 output is just 39g/km. The only downside is that the T8 is over £10,000 more than the non-hybrid T5 packing near enough the same four-cylinder engine. The S60 T8 costs from £49,805, compared to the T5’s £37,935. As an uber-efficient hybrid, however, it does offer the benefit of cheap company car tax for 40 percent tax payers – just £265 a month.

R-Design Plus – looks to match the muscle

Volvo S60 T8 hybrid

The T8 Twin Engine S60 is available exclusively in R-Design Plus trim, which means all plug-in T8s will have sporty looks to hint at the power within. The visual upgrade consists of high-gloss black exterior trim pieces and a choice between 18-, 19- and 20-inch allows.

The T5 non-hybrid also gets a 12mm drop in ride height, stiffer springs, thicker anti-roll bars and faster monotube dampers.

On the inside for both, you get part-leather sports seats, metal mesh alloy inlays, gearshift paddles and a head-up display. As standard in the S60 R-Design Plus, you get a touchscreen with sat nav, voice control, adaptive LED lights, all-round parking sensors, hands-free boot and autonomous emergency city braking.

Polestar performance on the way

Volvo S60 T8 hybrid

The last tease from Volvo is that there is a ‘Polestar Engineered’ variant of the S60 on the way. No, that’s not the full fat 600hp+ Polestar, but it will be sportier, taking the T8 powertrain up to 405hp. Not quite an M car fighter, but appreciated all the same.

“With R-Design Plus and Inscription Plus, we can offer the choice of a more focused driving experience or something more luxurious – qualities that resonate strongly with private owners and business users in the premium mid-size saloon market,” said Matt Galvin, sales director of Volvo Car UK.

“Add the petrol-electric plug-in hybrid T8 Twin Engine to the mix and we’re sure the extended S60 range will make a significant contribution to Volvo Car UK’s continued sales success.”

Volvo is the UK’s fastest-growing premium car brand

Volvo is the UK's fastest-growing premium car brand

Buoyed by the success of the XC40 small SUV, Volvo is now the fastest-growing upmarket car brand in the UK. Sales are up 27 percent in the first half of 2019, with just under 30,000 cars sold.

This means Volvo is well on the way to meeting its 60,000 sales target for 2020. The company’s global sales are up 7.3 percent, to more than 340,000 cars.

Leading the charge are the XC40 and larger XC60 SUV. The XC40 has been the marque’s best-seller for the last six months.

Volvo is the UK's fastest-growing premium car brand

Volvo won’t get complacent, though, says UK MD Kristian Elvefors: “We will develop our model range to ensure it continues to set new standards, while also introducing innovative ways for people to access and experience our products and services.

“Our sustained growth in the UK and globally sets the seal on the successful transformation of our brand.” 

Volvo’s strength bucks the trend of the new car market, which has shrunk by three percent year-on-year. Volvo’s market share has increased from 1.8 percent to 2.3 percent.

The Swedish marque chalks its success up to a ‘comprehensively renewed product range’. It describes its offering as ‘a superb line-up of award-winning models that resonate strongly with customers’.

Volvo is the UK's fastest-growing premium car brand

In the grand scheme of things, however, Volvo trails its German rivals by some margin. Total Mercedes-Benz sales in the UK in 2018 were more than 160,000 cars. SUVs are working wonders for Volvo, but its more conventional saloons struggle to penetrate the German stronghold.

Volvo’s performance in the used market is also strong. UK sales of Volvo Select used cars rose by 13 percent versus 2018, with a total of 16,653 units sold.

Volvo launches new premium test drive service

Volvo Test Drive+ service

Volvo has launched a new premium test drive service in the UK, called Test Drive+, in response to ever-growing expectations from premium car buyers. 

Available initially on the XC40 compact SUV, Test Drive+ is “designed to put total control in customer’s hands”, says Volvo.

Test drives are available at Volvo dealers, or cars can be delivered to the customer’s home or place of work. An hour is available, although extended test drives can be arranged for up to four days.

Bookings are done online or by calling a team of Test Drive+ agents, with customers able to view a real-time calendar to see what dates are available.

A confirmation email is sent once the booking has been made, and the customer will be directed to a reserved parking space upon arrival at the dealer.

VIP to the max!

‘At ease and valued’

Volvo premium test drive service

Kristian Elvefors, Volvo Car UK managing director, said: “The test drive is a critical element when people are making the important decision about whether or not to buy a new car, so we want to make sure it’s an experience that makes them feel at ease and valued as a customer, and which also reflects the premium quality of our brand.

“With Test Drive+ we have looked at every aspect from the customer’s point of view to make it as flexible and informative as possible. We want people to enjoy an ideal introduction to our cars, one which is completely designed around them.”

Test Drive+ is available across the UK, initially for the XC40 and then the S60 saloon

According to the terms and conditions, customers must be 25 years or over to use the Test Drive+ service, while drivers over the age of 75 might require proof of their fitness to drive.

Extended test drives are subject to a £500 pre-authorisation charge, but funds will only be taken to cover any payments or charges outlined in the Ts and Cs.

Click here to read more about Volvo’s Test Drive+ service.

Scandi thug: armoured Volvo XC90 released

Armoured Volvo XC90

Volvo has unveiled a new armoured version of its XC90 SUV, designed to meet a growing global market for armoured vehicles. It’s VPAM VR8 rated, which makes it one of the toughest armoured car-based vehicles on the road. Armoured Volvo deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2020.

VPAM VR8 – what makes the XC90 Armoured (heavy)

Armoured Volvo XC90

This rating mandates 360-degree ballistic and explosive resistance. To create the armoured XC90, a T6 AWD variant is sent to TRASCO Bremen GmbH in Germany, where high-strength 10mm steel armour is applied. 50mm glass joins it, along with upgraded suspension and brakes.

The suspension and brakes are uprated to deal with an extra 1,400kg. In total, it weighs a hefty 4,490kg.

“The XC90 Armoured (heavy) with VR8 protection rating enables us to offer a car that provides a high level of protection while retaining the car’s fundamental properties,” says Stephan Green, marketing director at Volvo Cars Special Vehicles.

Armoured Volvo XC90

“Production is carried out with extreme diligence, which is imperative in order to fulfil the exceptionally high requirements placed on this class of security product. We strive to ensure that the car retains its properties despite the extensive armouring.

“The armour is fitted discreetly to make the car barely distinguishable from a standard XC90. Every customer also has their own unique requirements, which we satisfy by means of customised production.

“Potential customers include security services who would use the car to transport high-profile individuals.”

Lighter bite: Less hardcore armoured Volvos

Armoured Volvo XC90

If your demands aren’t quite as rigorous, there is the XC90 (or XC60) Armoured (light). These cars are geared more towards protection against handguns.

They’re intended for Latin American and European markets. Overall they weigh just 250kg more than the standard cars, but feature upgraded brakes and suspension.

“We are proud to be able to offer these armoured cars. With our armoured cars, we can provide vehicles with a high level of personal security for individuals who require heightened protection.”