XC90 Could Be the Last Internal-Combustion Volvo as EVs Proliferate
Image credit: Volvo
From the car and driver
The Volvo XC40 Recharge P8 shown above is the first in a line of Volvo electric vehicles.
Both smaller and larger electric models will follow, CEO Håkan Samuelsson told Car and Driver.
The next XC90 will be offered in both hybrid and EV forms and could be the last internal combustion engine Volvo.
We've just seen Volvo's first EV, the XC40 Recharge P8, but we don't have to wait long for other all-electric models from the Swedish brand as the goal is to overtake competitors with a wide variety of zero-emission vehicles.
Volvo has already announced that half of the cars it will produce by 2025 will be all-electric, a proportion well above what we would expect from other premium European brands at the same time. Now CEO Håkan Samuelsson has given Auto and Driver more details about the bold plan and the logic behind it.
"The premium car market will be the fastest growing segment in the future, and we are even convinced that the premium segment will be electric in the future," said Samuelsson in a video interview. "You can speculate how long it will be before all premium cars are electric, but we've come to the conclusion that if we want to grow fast, we should focus on this segment. It's a lot smarter for us than to try, to try. " Market share in a shrinking conventional car segment. "
The next EV will come in 2021
According to Samuelsson, Volvo plans to launch several new electric models positioned both above and below the XC40 Recharge. The next one will be another car that sits on the same electrified compact modular architecture (CMA) that the XC40 and Polestar 2 are based on, which will arrive next year and which he proposed as an all-electric model with no combustion option. In addition, he confirmed that we will see an electric version of the next generation XC90 and that Volvo will make smaller electric vehicles.
Image credit: Volvo
"We're looking at smaller vehicles under the XC40 where we plan to use an all-electric platform from our brothers Geely in China - the SEA platform. We plan to do that in the future."
SEA stands for Sustainable Experience Architecture. Geely's Lynk & Co brand is showing a concept based on this at the 2020 Beijing Motor Show. Volvo recently registered the XC20 name as a trademark which is obvious for a baby crossover. While Volvo plans to continue offering mild hybrid and PHEV options for larger cars, Samuelsson says this smaller model will almost certainly be all-electric only. "For a smaller car than the XC40, it can be argued that it doesn't make sense to make a combustion version because a small gasoline-powered car is also a cheap car. The question [for us] is whether it can be premium and profitable. "
Samuelsson acknowledged that different parts of the world will be moving toward full electrification at different rates, and he says Volvo will continue to offer options for those looking for hybrids and PHEV in the medium term. "All of our cars will be electrified to some extent, and that's a good alternative if you can't charge," he said. "Something like the XC40 is a very modern car, even if you have it in the hybrid or gasoline version. With the new generation XC90 you get all the new electronics, all the safety devices, but if you live somewhere [without charging infrastructure] you will there is a hybrid version. "
However, Samuelsson also acknowledged that the end of the internal combustion Volvo is likely in sight, just four years after he (correctly) predicted that his company would be among the first European manufacturers to ban diesel. He admitted that it is possible that the next XC90 could be the last new Volvo to be launched with the option of a non-EV powertrain. "Then let's see - we will probably be more and more electric cars," he said. "It really depends on how fast customers want to move and how quickly an electrical infrastructure is built. Perhaps I could answer this: Our goal is definitely that we should be fully electric before it is mandated by governments."
With California planning to ban internal combustion engine sales as early as 2035 and some European countries suggesting it even earlier, the end may be closer than many suspect.
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