This seems to be the time for automakers to make big announcements about their alternative fuel vehicle plans. (It’s no coincidence either that it all follows the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal.)
First, Volkswagen and Toyota talked up their electric and hydrogen plans and now it’s Volvo’s turn. The automaker says it will develop and launch an entirely new range of electrified smaller cars and build an all-electric car by 2019. It’s all part of Volvo’s plan to replace every single car in its line-up in the next four years and sell 800,000 cars a year.
“We believe that the time has come for electrified cars to cease being a niche technology and enter the mainstream,” says Håkan Samuelsson, President and CEO of Volvo Cars. “We are confident that by 2020, 10 per cent of Volvo’s global sales will be electrified cars.”
Volvo’s new electrification strategy will start with the 90 series and 60 series. Volvo plans to introduce plug-in versions of them both and they’ll be based on the automaker’s new Scalable Product Architecture. This process is already underway with the launch of the T8 Twin Engine All-Wheel Drive plug-in hybrid version of its new XC90 SUV and will continue with plug-in hybrid versions of the new S90 premium sedan and other forthcoming models.
Volvo says it will also broaden the range plug-in hybrid cars it offers with the introduction of a new front-wheel drive Twin Engine variant.
“We have learned a lot about how people use cars with electrification thanks to our current product offer,” said Dr Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President for Research and Development. “Our research has shown that people are driving our Twin Engine cars in electric mode around 50 per cent of the time, meaning our plug-in hybrids already offer a real alternative to conventional powertrain systems.”
It will also turn to its attention to a new range of smaller 40 series cars based on its newly-developed Compact Modular Architecture (CMA), which, like SPA, has been designed from the outset for electrification. Volvo says both of its new vehicle architectures support both plug-in and all-electric powertrain. The automakers first car on CMA is expected to be launched in 2017.
Volvo isn’t releasing specifics yet about its all-electric model, but says it’s due out in 2019.