No dedicated models here.
While it’s hardly been a secret, Swedish marque Volvo has finally confirmed that not only are they hard at work on a fully-electric model (a first for the brand), but that it’ll be based off the “tough little robot” more commonly known as the XC40 compact SUV, that’s been launched to great fanfare and has been welcomed warmly around the world.
The Volvo XC40 is a mightily important car for Volvo. Not only is it its first foray into the compact-SUV space, but it’s also the first Volvo to utilise the Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) platform that will later be used in the V40 hatchback. Further, when the XC40 EV arrives next year, it’ll also be the very first fully-electric production car for the brand. To say it’s critical that Volvo nails this right on the nose is an understatement.
Design boss Thomas Ingenlath confirmed that the XC40 was the first in line for total electrification when he spoke to UK publication Autocar at the sidelines of the S60 launch in Charleston, South Carolina:
“It’s not a secret anymore that the first full-electric Volvo is on its way, with the XC40 coming. It will arrive very soon, after the Polestar 2. That is the first to come that’s not ‘exotic.’ We’ll start with the XC40 and then on [electrification] will come step by step into our model range. The next car [to go full EV] will be the next-generation XC90. That will be the masterplan of how electrification will come to the Volvo product range. We will introduce electrification as a powertrain variant within the existing portfolio.” — Thomas Ingenlath, Design Director, Volvo Cars
Volvo’s choice to integrate electrified powertrains into its existing product portfolio flies in the face of what’s being adopted by other established carmakers: Mercedes-Benz has established EQ as a specific electrified sub-brand with its own models, and Volkswagen is busy developing its ID family of electric vehicles that will complement its conventionally-powered model lineup.
“You could say that is different to a lot of the mass-production brands. But I have a hard time to understand how their plan will work in the long run. Electrification is the future of the automotive industry, so how do you handle that as soon as you come to the majority of electric cars? How do you handle it in your portfolio? I think it’s much more natural to say it’s a powertrain variant that over time will take up the majority of the sold vehicles.” — Thomas Ingenlath, Design Director, Volvo Cars
Ingenlath, who is also the CEO of spun-off performance marque Polestar, went on to explain that this is the most “natural” route for the brand to introduce electrification to the public gradually, and that Volvo’s electric vehicles will be very recognisable alongside their internal-combustion counterparts. The leary, out-there, experimental stuff? That’s for Polestar to explore.
Technical details on the upcoming XC40 EV were non-existent, though we’re pretty confident that an upcoming electric XC40 would probably offer all-wheel drive, and a decently-sized battery that would offer as much as 500km of range on a single charge. Its availability in Australia is also uncertain at this point (they’ll likely tell us more about that closer to the time of launch), though Volvo’s commitment to offering its customers greater powertrain options means that it can’t yet be ruled out.