Twin Engine powertrain of next Volvo XC90

Twin Engine powertrain of next Volvo XC90

July has been a busy month for news updates on many future EV, hybrid, PHEV and fuel cell vehicle programmes, with some especially interesting facts on the next Prius.

It's not unusual for Toyota projects to be delayed but 690A, the next Prius, won't now be seen this year. Instead, the start of production is scheduled for next December, with the plug-in hybrid bumped into 2016. As well as being an important model in Japan and the USA, generation four Prius is also relevant in other regions as it will be based on a fresh global architecture, TNGA. That also means the possibility of all-wheel drive, a first for a Prius.

Future hydrogen-fuelled cars are also seeing much activity with Daimler revealing that its first production model has been bumped into 2017 - originally the B-Class F-Cell was due this year. Why the delay? It seems the decision to pool fuel cell technology with Ford and Nissan means it's worth a three-year delay to bring down costs. Will the Volkswagen Group, Toyota, Honda and Hyundai-Kia benefit? All have new models due in 2015, including what is said to be an h-tron badge for Audi's first hydrogen model.

Finally, we're now just six-eight months away from seeing Volvo launch what could be the world's most advanced plug-in hybrid SUV, though BMW's future X5 eDrive will also be going after that title. Yet unlike Volvo, BMW won't be building such models in China. That's right, the first plug-in petrol hybrid sedan for the Swedish brand will be manufactured at a factory in Chengdu. Exports? Almost certainly - and the US is likely to be the initial target for the S60L T8 Twin Engine. Why 'T8'? Volvo isn't saying but it does leave the door open for another derivative, an as yet unofficial 'D8 Twin Engine' version of the next XC90.

This analysis is provided as part of just-auto's PLDB (Product Lifecycle DataBase) intelligence service. PLDB includes a model level database on the production life of over 3,000 current and future models globally by 251 brands from 170 groups. Find out more and take a free trial.

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