AD #2773 – Volvo XC90 Plug-In Hybrid Impressions; Bridgestone’s Airless Tire; Hyundai Teases Prophecy Concept

February 14th, 2020 at 12:05pm

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Listen to “AD #2773 – Volvo XC90 Plug-In Hybrid Impressions; Bridgestone’s Airless Tire; Hyundai Teases Prophecy Concept” on Spreaker.

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Runtime: 9:30

0:09 Coronavirus Cuts into Car Sales in China
0:56 Hyundai Teases Prophecy Concept
1:15 Fisker Leaks Electric Pickup Image
2:22 Bridgestone’s Airless Tire
4:47 China Revives Battery Swapping
5:39 Nissan Creates Songs to Help Kids Sleep in EVs
6:10 IAV’s Semi-Autonomous Delivery Vehicle
7:25 Volvo XC90 Plug-In Hybrid Impressions

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67 Comments to “AD #2773 – Volvo XC90 Plug-In Hybrid Impressions; Bridgestone’s Airless Tire; Hyundai Teases Prophecy Concept”

  1. ChuckGrenci Says:

    On airless tires (all manufacturers); this should also help with “road gators”, making highway travel for others and especially motorcycles a lot safer. And I wonder if the airless tire manufacturers have considered airless aircraft tires; that seems a perfect use for this technology.

    And on songs to help kids fall asleep in vehicles; besides the sound, a lot has to do with the tire noise and subliminal vibrations from the road contact.

  2. Larry D. Says:

    A. January China sales were down over last Jan not only because of the virus, but also (big reason) because the week-long Lunar New Year’s holiday, which falls on February usually, started on Jan 25 this year.

    B. Battery swapping may be not ideal for private car owners, but is excellent for FLEETS of buses, taxis, delivery vans etc.

    C. Volvo XC90, a non-luxury car (not even one square ” of wood veneer?) with a laughable range for $90 or $85k? THis is a $50k vehicle at best.

    I have many issues with Volto and the XC90. First of all, what are you talking about, John, when you say

    “As you probably know, Volvo is doing extremely well right now. In the U.S. market, sales were up 10% last year..”

    No it is NOT doing “extremely well”, not even barely OK, and it never was, unless you want to go back to the 70s and 80s, when it sold decent products at reasonable prices.

    How many times have I mentioned here that Volvo’s US market share has been an ABYSMAL, DISMAL 0.5-0.7% every year. a 10% increase of a tiny market share is STILL a TINY MARKET SHARE, three and four times SMaller than the More expensive, true luxury Mercedes or even BMW! So what numbers are you looking at, John?

  3. cubbiesoh Says:

    I like the idea of airless tires. Always getting slow leaks in the cheap tires they give you on your new car. Also, potholes would not be so much of an issue.
    I wonder if it would help with the handling of front-wheel drive vehicles as well in winter weather. Seems like it would almost have to, seeing that the suspension would be enhanced by the technology.

  4. cwolf Says:

    Airless tires wouldn’t get puncture flats. IMO, they may be better for cars and pick-ups than semis when it comes to retreading. A retread is a retread, is a retread; on hot summer days ,semis very well could loose just as many recapped tires. Maybe better rubber adhesives will be developed that can withstand higher temperatures.
    Yeah, battery swapping sounds better for fleet vehicles. I don’t think I would like to swap a newer battery for one that may have less life.

  5. Kit Gerhart Says:

    1 With the “road gators,” I was thinking the opposite, that maybe when the new tech tires are recapped, they might be more likely to come apart than pneumatic tires. I guess time will tell, if the airless tires actually go into significant use.

  6. Kit Gerhart Says:

    XC90 US sales for 2019 were only a little below US Mercedes E-Class sales, and the E include 4 different body styles.


  7. ChuckGrenci Says:

    3,5 A big contributor to retreads being thrown is a loss of air pressure in the tire, heat being produced and the tread separating from the carcass; that’s why my comment on reduced tire shrapnel was postulated.

  8. Kit Gerhart Says:

    XC90 US sales for 2019 were only a little below US Mercedes E-Class sales, and the E include 4 different body styles.

  9. Kit Gerhart Says:


  10. Kit Gerhart Says:

    7 Thanks for info. I wasn’t thinking about/realizing air loss being a contributor to truck tire tread separation.

  11. Larry D. Says:

    7 Lies, damned lies and statistics.

    FIrst off, E is a sedan and XC90 is a popular Crossover.

    Second, XC90 is the most popular VOlvo while the E is just one of dozens of well selling Merc models/

    compare apples to apples, OR the TOTAL Merc sales to TOTAL Volvo sales, and despite the muich more expensive Merc Average prices, MERC has a 2.1-2.2% market share, vs VOlvo merely 0.5-0.7%, one FOURTH or one THIRD. Despite being much less expensive on average. Same with BMW.

  12. Larry D. Says:

    10 and furthermore, only 3% of your total XC90 sales were the PLUG IN Hybrid tested here.

  13. Albemarle Says:

    I think plug-in hybrids have a role to play; electric around town and economical on trips. But, manufacturers are making them with laughably low EV range, probably to save money and weight. The result is, it’s not worth the effort to plug them in. Much better to get the hybrid version and save the money. I read a study from the U.K. that indicated that a small portion of users ever plug in their plug-in hybrid. And if it was a company car, close to 100% never plugged in.

  14. GM Veteran Says:

    That “Follow Me” feature is pretty cool. I was thinking of something very similar a month ago that could be developed for garbage trucks so that only one person would be needed to collect garbage or recycling rather than two.

  15. Albemarle Says:

    I’d like the follow-me system in a collar for the dog.

  16. GM Veteran Says:

    Why do you have to sell millions of vehicles to be successful? The goal in building and selling vehicles is to make money. I think sometimes that gets lost in the flurry of hype and statistics.

    Rolls Royce is a very profitable enterprise while selling around 5,000 vehicles per year. And Tesla now sells around 400,000 but is not profitable (without its credits sales). Volvo sells vehicles in many countries and if that adds up to a favorable plant utilization rate and annual company profits, that’s great. Not every company has to rival BMW and M-B in sales volume to be successful.

  17. George Ricci Says:

    Battery swapping for consumers is not going to happen for a long time if ever. There is no standardization for pack size, shape, capacity, connections, monitoring, etc. Battery chemistry is still evolving which effects the design and programming of the electronic controllers and chargers.

    Then you have the problem of having a swap station along a route you normal travel.

  18. Brett Cammack Says:

    I liked Volvo better when they were quirky, nerdy, safe imports. I don’t know why decided that it needed to abandon that market and move upscale, but the success of Subaru demonstrates that was a viable market they abandoned.

    I’d enjoy an old Volvo 240 wagon.

  19. GM Veteran Says:

    Good point Brett. Subaru has definitely taken over the more affordable end of the “safer vehicle” segment. They take their safety initiatives very seriously and see it as a core value of the company. We did some work with them 20 years ago launching a new model and saw their commitment level first-hand.

  20. Larry D. Says:

    In the US market Volvo has been a dismal failure. Such as an “F”. THis gave me the idea to give the other makers my grades: (the proof is the sales and/or the profits, as well superior models)

    GM: C

    Ford: D

    Mazda: F

    Honda: B

    Toyota: A-

    Lexus: A

    Subaru: A

    FCA: C+

    Nissan: F

    Tesla: A+. Surprised?

  21. Larry D. Says:

    20 con’d

    Porsche: A

    BMW: A-

    Mercedes: A

    Acura: F

    Infiniti: D

    Mitsu: part of Nissan, and not on the radar screen

    Rolls: A+

    Bentley: A+

    Ferrari: A+

    Lambo: A

    Maserati: F

    Fiat: F

    Alfa: F

    So sue me.

  22. Kit Gerhart Says:

    10 I compared one model, that is sold in one body style (tall body lifted wagon}, to one model that is sold in four body styles, (sedan, coupe, convertible, and wagon). That means the E-Class advantage should be even larger.

    17 I lost interest in Volvo when they switched to front drive, making them like all the mass market brands, except more expensive.

  23. GM Veteran Says:

    20 – Toyota gets a A- and Tesla gets an A+. Well, at least we know you have a sense of humor!

  24. Larry D. Says:

    20, 21 Even after two lists, I missed

    Jag Land Rover. Which is not good news if I missed it. D-

    and Mclaren F1: A+

    And Bugatti: A-

  25. Larry D. Says:

    I can’t believe I still missed VW and Audi

    VW: B-

    Audi: B+

  26. Kit Gerhart Says:

    21 et. al.

    You forgot the 3 biggest car company in the world, Volkswagen.

  27. Kit Gerhart Says:


  28. Kit Gerhart Says:

    27 never mind

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Hyundai and Kia

  30. Kit Gerhart Says:

    …and Genesis. I know you would give them an F-.

  31. Barry T Says:

    The additional retreading possibilities and reliability might be because the structure does not have to deal with a flexing side wall, perhaps?

  32. Drew Says:

    Opinionated grades. No criteria given. No supporting data. Unprincipled.

  33. Bishop Says:

    mais. . . mais. . . il est le professeur !?#!

  34. Kit Gerhart Says:

    When I hear about airless tires, I tend to think of the down side of run-flat tires, which have worse noise and ride than regular tires. I’d think the no-air-ever tires would be even worse in that regard. I guess we’ll find out at some point.

  35. Larry D. Says:

    There will be no show on Monday, but you can already see this excellent video, which might explain why Tesla is worth GM and Ford COMBINED. (Hint: it is always the investor expectations for their future profits)

  36. Larry D. Says:

    32, 33 You don’t say. Stick your heads deeper in the sand.

    Alternatively, you COULD watch 35 and, at long last, LEARN something.

  37. Larry D. Says:

    Which is your favorite Jay Leno’s Garage Video?

    Kit said it was the (surprise, surprise, failed) Stanley Steamer Freakmobile from the 1900s or 1910s. Jay also has a BEV Baker from the same time which still works fine AND never any problem. Hint: This is why the most reliable cars are compared to “appliances”

    My favorite video would be this one, if you want to be financially ruined by your legendary collectible. DO not mistake the familiar looks of this car with ANY mass produced cheapo Merc!

    WOuld be, until 2012 dawned and another one took its place.

  38. Larry D. Says:

    This one.

    “The Future of the Burnout is safe” – Jay Leno.

  39. ChuckGrenci Says:

    35, Transcript says, “We’ll see you right back here again on Monday.” Did I miss something; anyway, a lot of us check-in regularly so in all probability we won’t miss the show (if it is in fact broadcast on Monday). Pretty sure, ‘the guys’ don’t take off for President Day.

  40. Larry D. Says:

    CO to allow direct BEV sales?

  41. Kit Gerhart Says:

    37 Some of us are interested in early automotive history, and steam cars were not “Freakmobiles” in the early 1900s. They outnumbered gas cars, as did electric cars. I found it interesting to see Jay go over the realities of operating, and restoring the steam car.

    We all know about big, expensive gas cars. Yeah, that Benz is impressive, in the competition for Rolls Royce sort of way, and in a Citroen DS sort of way with hydraulic everything. Of course, we all know about Teslas.

  42. Larry D. Says:

    41 I am as much and even more interested as you are, but I am not fooling myself, and I call a spade a spade. The Stanley was sure a FAILED vehicle. This is how capitalism works, Free Markets, the “Creative Destruction” as the eminent economist Shumpeter called it.

    Failure is an important and valuable part of it, IF you LEARN from it.

    Even the early BEVs failed in the early 1900s. But at least they were buletproof reliable, even 100 years later, AND it is NOT ME saying this, it was Jay Leno talking about his Baker Electric, a vehicle I also saw at Stahl’s on Dec 28.

  43. Larry D. Says:

    35 Don’t miss this Great Video. It is interesting that at the same year that GM and FCA went bankrupt, a new company was formed, and in a dozen short years it came to be worth as much as GM AND Ford combined, and whether the regulars here hate it or not, for a GOOD REASON, which is evident in 35, and even in 38.

    The above is a CLASSIC example of how free markets work and of the ‘creative destruction’ process.

  44. Larry D. Says:

    39 OK then, even better. BE sure to watch 35 anyway, and even Jay in 38. Very informative. THe guy in 35 has a brit accent, and if they listen to him in the UK, the future is bright there.

    One more thing. One big reason the Model Y will succeed is that it is NOT just a utilitarian CUV that drives as poorly as a breadvan.

    It has low ground clearance and an even lower Center of Gravity, as explained in 35, which allows it to be BOTH a utility vehicle and an excellent handling, performance coupe/wagon/hatch.

    So if you can only afford ONE car, and you need both the utility AND the performance AND the handling (and the 100% green operation) you make NO compromises with the Y.

  45. Kit Gerhart Says:

    42 Yes, Stanley, and other steam car companies didn’t survive, because they didn’t make the transition to gas. Of course, hundreds, or thousands of other car companies haven’t survived the first 125 or so years of autodom either. Duesenberg is a “failed” car company, but they remain a significant part of automotive history.

    44 The Y is almost a no compromise vehicle, IF you have a place to charge it, and IF you don’t care about making good time on long road trips. It will sell well, and I might be interested IF charging becomes available, either at my condo, or if more charging becomes available nearby, or at places I go on a regular basis.

  46. Larry D. Says:

    Usually I don’t watch Autoline THis Week because of its topics and guests not being high on my list (AV, Mobility etc).

    But this one from Feb 6, 2020 caught my eye with its title

    “The End of the ICE Age?”

    Will listen to it in an hour or so.

  47. Larry D. Says:

    46 This is the one, when I hit the above, another boring show popped up.

  48. Larry D. Says:

    Audi tries a publicity stunt and ends with egg all over the E-tron’s “grille”, as its already low range is HALVED when towing.

  49. ChuckGrenci Says:

    There are a couple of YouTubes, from Engineering Explained that visits the ICE vs BEV debate. As others and myself proclaim, ICE is not done yet, and as BEV makes certain in-roads, it’s still going to take a while. And that’s okay, let the best technology win (but they are going to co-exist for quite a while into the future).

  50. Larry D. Says:

    Gas prices here are $2.39 Regular and $2.59 Diesel. When I fill my tank (now 1/4 full), I will actually pay $0.20 LESS than the cheapest Regular, due to my $0.40 a gallon Kroger discount (not difficult at all to get every month). AND if I had a gas E class I would have to put PREMIUM gas, which will be not $.20 but $0.50 MORE expensive than what I pay for diesel.

    And of course the increase in fuel efficiency is HUGE, at least 30% better MPG, while at the same time you have a mountain of TOrque you do NOT have with the gas engine,

    AND, despite what the usual suspects will say, abandoning their common sense, the Diesel is FAR more trouble free and has far longer life than the gas engine.

  51. Kit Gerhart Says:

    50 They said to use premium in the E350 the vintage of yours, but in normal driving, I suspect regular would be fine, as it is in my Corvette. As you say, though, your diesel gets much better fuel economy. As far as “trouble free,” if you drive your car a million miles, before the road salt destroys the body, yeah, the diesel would last longer. If driven a more usual number of miles, neither engine will wear out during the life of the car, and routine maintenance is less expensive for the gas engine.

    47 One of the Wards guys predicts a lot of mild hybrids in the next 10 years, about 40% of the total market. It makes for smooth, presumably reliable stop/start function without wearing out starter motors and flywheel gears, but provides only minimal efficiency gain. I guess it’s fairly cheap to do, though. Still, I’m not impressed with what I know of mild hybrids’ fuel savings.

    48 I’m surprised the e-tron’s range wasn’t more than halved when pulling that trailer. In a video I posted a few days ago, the range of a Model X was halved when pulling a less tall, and lighter trailer than that. Maybe they were going slower with the Audi, though.

  52. Larry D. Says:

    Plug-in Hybrids (and regular hybrids) are a stop-gap measure for those who need more than the existing supercharger network. If their numbers were large, they (along with the pure BEVs) would also make gas and diesel prices lower for everybody due to the price drop that follows the drop in demand.

    I listened to the ATW show while I was packing things from the office to take to my home office. I can’t say it was a very exciting show. I was amused when they expressed their disappointment at “BEV” sales, and said “except for Tesla”. How can you throw out the company that has 78% of all BEV sales-market share? ALSO, they erroneously said that Tesla sold something like 140-150k units of their only three models in 2019 (Of which only one is a volume model). It did NOT. It sold 367,000 units. I assume they narrow-sightedly were talking about ONLY the US market, but they did not clarify it in the show.

  53. Kit Gerhart Says:

    A lot of charging infrastructure is needed, at least in the US, for BEVs to be a practical option for a lot of people, especially as an only car. Then, for the BEV over-the-road 18 wheelers, every truck stop will need an on-site coal fired power plant. No, I’m not serious about that, but “supercharging” 20 big trucks at once would take 10-15% of the capacity of a large combined cycle natural gas power unit.

  54. cwolf Says:

    Still nothing to be concerned about. BEVs shouldn’t amount to more than 20% in 10-15 years. Plug -In Hybrids will surge much more and I wouldn’t doubt seeing more efficient ICEs being developed. I also want to believe the mid-sized sedan will make a come back. P/U trucks are just too expensive and not practical for most people.
    So we all know Tesla has a jump on all the others, but who really cares of old news?

  55. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Stanley Motor Carriage Company lasted 22 years. Tesla needs another 10 years to match that. Will they? Yeah, they probably will, but no guarantees.

  56. Larry D. Says:

    53 Sure, compared to CHina that has as many EV chareging stations as gas stations ( about 100,000 each) and the US only half.

    But some animals are more equal than the others, Tesla has a huge advantage in its network.

    The lack of coordination in the US will produce duplicative charging stations as Tesla has its own and now VW will make new ones and “Electrify America” (is this VW’s outfit) theirs etc.

  57. Larry D. Says:

    You all (esp the impatient pessimists)need to study automotive history and find out how many decades ICE cars ran without any gas stations (!) and if they needed gas they would have to get small quantities of it from their Pharmacy!

    Yesterday the surface lot was full and I had to park underground in our local library, so I saw the dozen or two chargers. Half of them were empty, and the rest were 3 Tesla S, one VOlt, one Fusion Energi (I guess it’s a plug-in with a unusable small trunk?) I may look it up anyway in case there are bargains like the $k Leafs) and the rest were model 3s. Plenty of empty charging stations even in this Plug-in- heavy town.

  58. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yes, Electrify America is VW’s thing.

  59. Kit Gerhart Says:

    57 Fusion Energi is a plug-in hybrid with 21-26 miles of electric range, depending on model year, and about half the trunk of a regular Fusion.

  60. Larry D. Says:

    Related to my suggestion to cut unprofitable models, GM has cut its entire operations in Australia and NZ.

    It also sold its Thai Plant to “Great Wall”

    I wonder if they had no path to profitability in Aus and NZ. When I visited Sydney in July 95, my excellent host had a lousy (and overpriced) Nissan sedan. I assume Ford has no presence there either, so it will be at the mercy of the Japanese, unless the only Globally Successful American car maker, T E S L A, finds a way to sell more units there.

  61. cwolf Says:

    Tesla sold no more than 5000 cars in Australia last year. That is .05% of total sales. Bet ya they are used as taxis and not in the out back.

  62. Kit Gerhart Says:

    60 GM and Ford both announced a few years ago that they were shutting down manufacturing in Australia. This morning, I heard on NPR that GM is also “retiring” the Holden brand, which was more than 100 years old. That had been selling rebadged Opels, etc. as Holdens.

  63. cwolf Says:

    Guess this is what happens when manufactures focus on profits rather than making cars people want.

  64. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Australia’s car market is very trucky, like the US market. Three of the top ten sellers are pickup trucks, and most of the rest are CUVs.

  65. Larry D. Says:

    61 You STILL do not get it and you will NEVER get it.

    It is NOT about LAST Year. It is NOT about THIS Year.

    Stock prices are about the FUTURE profits of a company.

    If you open your eyes and ears, maybe you too will understand why Tesla stock is worth more than Ford AND GM COMBINED.

    It is because it is the ONLY, 100% American, Globally (NOT just in your tiny town) SUCCESSFUL company today.

    It has ONLY had HUGE HITS to date, and its pipeline looks truly AWESOME.

    How well do you think the Model Y will do?

    I believe it will be a HUGE HIT, an even bigger hit than the Model 3.

    AND these mass market cars sell 100,000s of units every year DESPITE the incomplete supercharger network, and despite the average buyer’s illiteracy (most buyers think Hybrids are all plug-ins)

    Teslas are also perfect for young people who know their TECH (even a few older ones who get it too). DO not expect them to do well among the diminishing market of tech-illiterate retirees who complain to COnsumer Reports about the “i-drive” or how hard it is to do this or that in their vehicle, which sure was designed for far more Tech-literate consumers.

  66. Kit Gerhart Says:

    65 Well, Teslas would be perfect for young people, except that many, or most young people who have left their parents’ homes live in apartments, and wouldn’t have a convenient place to charge the car. The closest “supercharger” to me is about 40 miles away, and not on the way to any place I often go. That will get better, but we have a long way to go.

  67. Larry D. Says:

    61 And PS, there are far more important markets than Aus and its 20 mill people (or 25?), where CURRENTLY very few Teslas are sold. Do you really think this will continue?

    Germany is a market of 80+ million that fits the above. a 500,000 unit Gigafactory will be up in a year near BErlin. Can you imagine the HUGE increase in sales when it starts churning out affordable (much more than those imported) Model 3 and Model Ys? In 2-3 years, Germany will be a HUGE BEV market, as Norway and the Netherlands already are. AND the UK will not be far behind.