At a conference in Miami last week, Volvo shared its plans for future electric cars with its North American dealers. Citing a report by Automotive News (paywall), CarBuzz says company executives told their audience about plans to launch 7 new and redesigned electrified models in the coming few years. One enthusiastic participant exclaimed that the company has “nailed it” when it comes to its new offerings.
Volvo says it plans to sell only electric automobiles by 2030 – fully 5 years earlier than other companies such as General Motors. The battery-electric offerings will consist of small and large crossovers – such as the next-generation XC90 – along with a sedan and two wagon-like sporty models described as “activity vehicles.” Attendees were also shown the new S90 and XC90. One of the new models will be similar to the Concept Recharge 3-row crossover EV Volvo unveiled last year.
“As we enter the age of the electric car, how far you can drive on a full charge will be a key consideration,” Owen Ready, head of strategic and brand design at Volvo Cars, tells CarBuzz. “The easy approach is to add more batteries, but it is not the same as simply adding a bigger fuel tank today – batteries add weight and increase carbon footprint. Instead we have to increase overall efficiency to increase range. With Concept Recharge we explore the tension between the need for efficiency and the desire for the same space, convenience and driving experience as in today’s SUVs.”
Volvo says that it’s using sustainable materials, including tires made from recycled and renewable ingredients, and believes it can “reduce a car’s lifecycle CO2 impact by 80 percent versus a 2018 Volvo XC60, without losing the inherent premium qualities that Volvo cars have become known for.”
The new XC90 will be the first Volvo to use the company’s dedicated battery-electric platform. The XC40 and C40 utilize the company’s CMA chassis, which can accommodate internal combustion engines as well as plug-in hybrid and battery electric powertrains. Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson tells Autocar, “It will be the new Volvo flagship SUV but it’s really the first of its kind and will be followed by a lot of cars based on the same architecture.”
An upcoming smaller electric SUV will be based on the new SEA platform that Geely, Volvo’s parent company, is developing in China, according to Autoweek. Samuelsson says he doesn’t know how quickly the world’s upmarket car buyers will switch to full electrification and admits if is likely to take place at different speeds in different territories — with much of the US likely to be among the slower adopters. But he also told Autoweek his company is already planning for the effective end of combustion engines, with the next XC90 potentially being the last Volvo to be launched with the option of a piston powertrain.
“Our ambition is definitely that we should be fully electric before it is made mandatory by governments. I think it is interesting that the discussion has broadened in a lot of places — California, the UK, even Bavaria in Germany are talking about 2035… and keeping cars in production that cannot be sold globally is probably not in line with our strategy.” Nor would it be good for the environment. Well played, Volvo.
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