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Tricks of the EV trade

  • Magazine Article
  • 19AUTP11_04
Published November 01, 2019 by SAE International in United States
  • English

Why Volvo uses starter-generators and raised tunnels for its electrified vehicles.

Volvo first demonstrated its Integrated Starter Generator (ISG) at the 2001 Frankfurt Motor Show. Replacing the starter-motor and alternator with the ISG allows a gas engine to shut off at will - mainly to prevent idling at a stop. For the company, it was a logical first step for fuel savings. But Volvo engineers at the time could hardly have predicted how useful an ISG would become, decades later, in the electric era.

As Automotive Engineering discovered on our recent drive of the 2020 Volvo XC90 T8 plug-in hybrid during its media launch, an integrated crankshaft generator doesn't merely allow stop-start or mild-hybrid propulsion. While piloting the XC90 T8 along the Trans-Canada Highway in August, we were able to keep the three-row, full-size SUV in pure electric mode for its first 21 miles (34 km).