Volvo’s Hybrid Fuel consumption and cost: What happens when the hybrid battery charge finishes?

Volvo makes some bold claims on its consumption figures. They claim that their 2 tonne SUV returns a barely believable 2.1 liters / 100km consumption. Which is true if you are driving within the city on a fully charged battery. In fact with a full charge you would barely use any fuel at all. Here’s what we found out when we did a full review of the car, which you can check out via the video here! 

The Electric Engine can give....

You can choose between different drive modes to optimize power usage
The newly updated Volvo XC60 Recharge T8 has a bigger 11.6kW battery pack, which is rated at 50km. We consistently managed to average about 45 km with this battery pack, thanks to regenerative braking. 45 km is the distance you would travel between Subang Jaya to Kuala Lumpur’s KLCC area and back. Which means technically, you would use less than 5 minutes of internal combustion engine usage on this commute. So in short urban commute, its super economical. In fact more economical than a Perodua Ativa

But when the battery is empty....

The 2.0 liter engine is turbocharged and supercharged
What happens when you have to travel beyond that distance? The electric motor and battery pack on the XC60 is quite heavy, and bumps up the weight of the car to 2.15 tonnes. The petrol engine, is very powerful for a 2.0 liter. In fact it behaves like a supercharged 3.0 engine. But for a 2 tonne SUV, its just enough power, and consumes quite a bit of fuel. Is this car useless without its battery power?

What happens when you drive beyond the battery pack range?

Our drive to Kuala Selangor to test the long distance consumption
To find out, we took the car on a 130km round trip from Kelana Jaya to Kuala Selangor. The electric power is best used during low speed driving like in towns or residential areas. Or stop and go traffic. The super-turbo engine works best at a steady cruise. How do we balance the usage of both engines across 130km?

Volvo's Battery Management System

You can choose to lock the battery charge or charge it using engine power via the 9 inch touch screen
You can choose to lock the charge in the battery, or get the engine to continuously charge the battery pack while driving. These functions are easily activated on the fly. Once you set it to charge alone it wont discharge the battery. With this system, we ended up optimizing the battery charge for the traffic heavy areas. While on the speedier sections, we recovered precious battery power by charging it and locking the battery. 

What's the damage?

Overall, despite travelling with 5 adults in the car (during CMCO period, in compliance to the SOP set then), and not holding back on the throttle, we still managed a damn good 8.5 liters / 100km consumption figure. That’s what you get from  Peugeot 3008 SUV in the same type of journey.
The final consumption figure we clocked with the battery management features
The Volvo XC60 has a 70 liter fuel tank. Which will cost you about RM140 to fill up. The hybrid battery takes 5 hours to charge from a household outlet, and will set you back between RM2.50 – RM5 depending on your residential tariff. 
We never had to fill the car once despite using it for 6 days straight. In fact it still had plenty of fuel left when we gave the car back. And our commute encompassed back and forths between Shah Alam – Kelana Jaya, Damansara and Petaling Jaya region multiple times in a day. And of course this trip to Kuala Selangor. 

Overall fuel bill

We subjected the car to an average 100km per day commute, and didnt charge it overnight everyday. Which returned a spectacular 14 l / 100km consumption figure. Which is more appropriate for a two tonne SUV. 
You can clock an under 4l / 100km consumption with a fully charged battery under 50 km of driving
However if you keep charging the car overnight everyday, you will spend a maximum of RM150 per month on electricity (Residential tariff from TNB). That gives you between 1200 – 1400 km of driving range monthly. A Perodua Ativa which clocks 7.8 l / 100km of fuel consumption will cost you RM189 of RON95 for the same distance. 
A round trip from Kelana Jaya - Klang and back resulted in this consumption figure.
That would help stretch you 70 liter tank usage to up to 10 days or more. Which means your fuel bill now will come to RM420 per month or lesser, depending on how much you commute per month. And RM150 for electricity. That’s a total of RM570 for approximately 3000km of commute per month. 

Conclusion

Keep the battery charged and you will rarely visit the fuel pumps in the XC60

Depending on how you exploit the plug-in hybrid system, you can save a heap on your fuel bill, reserving that thirsty consumption for the highway or long commutes only. If you’re going to use the car in only urban environments, your fuel consumption will hover around the 6.5 liter / 100km consumption figure. Which means you might only fuel up every 1000km of fuel / EV driving. Which is how we arrived at the minimum 10 day fueling period for the 70 liter tank, if you commute close to 100km daily like we do. That means this Volvo SUV that has a higher output than a 911 Carrera S can result a lower fuel bill than a Perodua Ativa. Technology is great.

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