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Volvo's 'Highway Robbery' stunt turns passing cars into generators

Volvo's 'Highway Robbery' stunt turns passing cars into generators

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Volvo has a new ultra-luxe SUV on the market — the plug-in hybrid version of the well-received XC90, featuring 400 horsepower generated from a four-cylinder turbo paired to an electric motor. A new model means a new publicity campaign, and Volvo came up with a particularly creative one.

Called "Highway Robbery," Volvo's scheme involved a contraption laid across a southern California highway that pushed water into a generator every time a car passed by; in turn, the generator would dribble a little bit of power into a shiny white XC90 T8 parked by the side of the road. A jumbotron connected to the setup taunted each driver with messages like "Thanks for the extra miles, Jeep," and "Thank you, blue Volkswagen."

It's silly, and it's definitely not a practical way to charge a bunch of cars — but it probably served its function, which was to draw the attention of every single driver who drove over that water-filled mat.

In the US, the XC90 T8 starts at $68,100.