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Tesla’s industry influence on display in 2016 Volvo XC90

Tesla is not just influencing the drivetrain of new vehicles.


This spring the all-new 2016 Volvo XC90 will bring many firsts to the Volvo brand here in the US. Volvo’s XC90 was first introduced back in 2005 here in the US and it has since become Volvo’s flagship vehicle. The model was out of production for 2015, but it will soon return and it ushers in a new era for the brand. What we find very interesting about this new 7-passenger crossover is how much Tesla has influenced its design.

Volvo is very proud that it will be offering its “Twin-engine” XC90 which features a plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) drivetrain. The brand states in its press materials that the XC90 PHEV “offers an unrivalled combination of power and clean operation: around 400 horsepower with carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of around 60 g/km (NEDC driving cycle).”

Actually, Tesla’s 7-passenger Model X SUV will rival that. Frankly, it will top it. The new Model X crossover is also scheduled to make an appearance this spring. Also using two electric motors, one up front and one in the rear, the Model X will very likely pack much more than 400 hp. In terms of CO2 emissions, at least in the pretend world where only the emissions directly from the vehicle are counted, the Model X has zero. Nada.

However, it was another Tesla design cue that caught our attention. Volvo boasts about its new XC90 interior, saying, “The most striking feature is a tablet-like touch screen control console, which forms the heart of an all-new in-car control system. This system is virtually button free and represents an entirely new way for drivers to control their car and access a range of Internet-based products and services..” Volvo could have just cut to the chase and said “our new crossover has a huge-honkin' tablet just like Tesla’s does."

The XC90 is scheduled for Spring of 2015. The Tesla Model X has been delayed many times since it was first announced in February 2013. We trust the company’s newest launch time of fall 2015 will come true. When these vehicles come to market they will join the seven or eight passenger Toyota Highlander Hybrid, seven-passenger Nissan Pathfinder hybrid, the five-passenger Lexus RX450h, Audi Q5 hybrid, Lexus NX300h and others in what is suddenly a very crowded premium green SUV segment.

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Mark Day (not verified)    March 16, 2015 - 9:49PM

Volvo is doing well to equip their XC90 with a large computer-like monitor control panel. It's doing even better by not, like Tesla, depending on electric propulsion only. Tesla has a major concept flaw by, in effect, not having a long enough extension cord.