The 2018 Volvo S90 Momentum plug-in hybrid (PHEV) sedan starts at $63,650 USD, which is by no means cheap. However, this is a 400HP luxury car offering 472 pound-feet of torque. Similar offerings from other luxury brands can be found for several thousand dollars less, but not plug-in hybrids. The S90 hybrid also offers up to 27 miles of range in electric mode.
The reason a plug-in hybrid would cost more than a conventional hybrid (HEV) is because of the equipment required for external charging, including transformers, the AC to DC converter, and the charging cable. A plug-in hybrid (although not necessarily in all cases) can use either its built-in generator, the grid, or an external solar, propane, or other generator to recharge its batteries.
Why Not Just Use The Built-in Generator To Charge A Hybrid Car’s Batteries?
1. It’s Not Future Proof: PHEVs such as the Volvo S90 hybrid can be recharged with solar power, wind power, geothermal power, natural gas, and every other energy sources, which shields them from the effect of oil price spikes. If you purchase a plug-in hybrid, you will be able to drive if another oil crisis was to occur (for example: the 1973 oil embargo). It is also worth noting that the U.S. grid is powered mostly by non-petroleum derived fuels such as natural gas, nuclear, coal, and hydro.
2. It’s less fuel-efficient: Regular (non-plug-in) hybrid cars rely on gasoline exclusively to recharge their batteries. This means that you are limited to the poor efficiency of gasoline-powered generators. While conventional hybrid cars are still substantially more efficient than their non-hybrid counterparts. Plug-in hybrids still knock them out of the park, efficiency-wise. You can also use cheaper energy sources such as the grid to recharge a PHEV like the Volvo S90. A regular hybrid is always subject to the cost of gasoline.
3. Choices: If you’re a person that wants every option you can get so you’re prepared for all situations, whether it be solar, wind power, geothermal, and off-grid system, the grid, the gas station, or even diesel. A plug-in hybrid like the Volvo S90 provides that versatility. You can use a home solar system, solar power purchased from the grid, or even a propane-fueled generator to charge your PHEV. You can also plug in your PHEV at night and wake up to a full charge every morning, minimizing trips to the gas station. This is highly convenient.