Class Action Lawsuit Says Volvo Misled Customers About XC90 PHEV Range

Xavier Laurens bought a Volvo XC 90 T8 plug-in hybrid because he thought it would have enough all electric range for him to drive back and forth to work without using any gasoline. He expected his Volvo to have 25 miles of range. But out in the real world, Laurens found his XC 90 would only go 8 to 10 miles before the gasoline engine kicked in.

Volvo XC90 PHEV

He complained to his local Volvo dealer, but was told the Mulroney window sticker clearly states the range on battery power is 13 miles. The dealerhip tested the car and claimed it got 18 miles using the battery. But Laurens says they never went over 40 miles per hour on the highway and turned off all accessories to save electricity. Laurens says most of those features, like climate control, would be active during normal driving.

Dissatisfied with the response from Volvo and his dealer, he filed a class action lawsuit alleging false advertising in the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The suit claims Laurens spent $20,000 more for his car than he would have spent on a conventional Volvo model. He says he expected to save some of that $20,000 in reduced fuel costs.

A check of the Volvo website today shows a claim of approximately 17 miles of range. Where Laurens got his information about the range being 25 miles is unclear. If Laurens is basing his claim on information he says he found on the EPA website, he should be suing the EPA, not Volvo.

In any event, there is a lot of hoopla about plug-in hybrids that have relatively dismal range. Some companies seem to be banking on the power of advertising a plug-in option to sell cars as opposed to offering drivers realistic range. Still, Mr. Laurens would have to circumnavigate the world a few times with a side trip to the moon in order to save $20,000 worth of gasoline. Perhaps he should have done a little more due diligence before dropping his cash on this particular car.

Source:  Photo credit: Volvo

Steve Hanley

Closely following the transition from internal combustion to electricity. Whether it's cars, trucks, ships, or airplanes, sustainability is the key. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.