The most powerful production Volvo built so far is the 400-horsepower XC90 T8 SUV, the four-cylinder turbo engine of which gets an extra boost from an electric motor. It’s a plug-in hybrid, and Volvo has created a tongue-in-cheek advertisement to drive that point home that uses an elaborate – though surely inefficient – system built on a stretch of highway in California.
As explained by the boffin mastermind behind it all, the passing cars push down on a rubber mat hiding a series of tubes containing water. The movement of the fluid then runs a generator providing the Volvo with free energy. Well, the energy is free to the Volvo, but certainly not to the other cars on the road.
Even if it’s clearly an improvement over, say, a hamster wheel, it doesn’t exactly sound like a viable system to be laid down on every highway from sea to shining sea –
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