Volvo XC90 T8 Steals Power from Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and the Lot

Volvo XC90 T8 1 photo
Photo: Screenshot from YouTube
What attributes come to mind when you think about Volvo. "Safety" has got to be the first. Otherwise, all that time, money, and energy spent by the Swedish brand in the past decades would have been for nothing.
You could add "boring" to the list as well, as Volvo's been known up until recently to make good but dull cars. What else? I'm afraid that's about it - not a lot of excitement going on at Volvo, it would seem. Maybe that's precisely why somebody thought it would be a good idea to give the brand a bit of "bad boy" attitude.

The latest promotional video from Volvo USA is called "Highway Robbery," and it starts with a bizarre claim. After telling us that the XC90 T8 is one of the most powerful Volvos ever built (which, sorry Volvo, but it doesn't say that much about the T8), the text goes on to inform us that it's also the first of their cars to be powered by "gas, electricity, and other cars." Wait, what?

Is Volvo really going to siphon gas out of other car's tanks while on the move? Will they use guns? Is this a Mad Max sequel? But most importantly: has everyone gone mad over at Volvo? The answer to all of these questions is (sadly) "no." Is it going to chase down EVs and hybrids and drain their batteries like a leech using some sort of retractable power cable? No, no, no, you got this all wrong.

What Volvo actually did was to contract Bob Partington, an Innovation Architect, who devised a system that would generate power via the weight of the cars passing on top of it. Yeah, I know, I was kind of disappointed too at first, but the trick is pretty clever nonetheless. They've created a rubber mat with tubes underneath that are full of water. When cars drive over them, they compress and send the liquid to a hydraulic power generator that produces energy.

Volvo used a small patch of a Californian highway where it installed a one-car charging station. As cars passed by, the Volvo XC90 T8 on display got its batteries charged. A screen mounted just a few yards away thanked the passing car (by mentioning the brand and its color) and informed it that it had just helped power the XC90 T8 plug-in hybrid SUV. While it definitely didn't cost the cars anything (except for some time, since they probably had to slow down a little to get on the mat), it's still unexplainably infuriating to know that somebody just took advantage of you. It's safe to say that the blue Volkswagen, the black Audi or the Jeep drivers are not going to buy a Volvo anytime soon.

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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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