Volvo sets out electrifying future

Volvo has announced plans to launch plug-in hybrid versions of all its cars by 2020, and a fully-electric Tesla rival by 2019.

“The time has come for electrified cars to cease being a niche technology and enter the mainstream,” said Volvo president and CEO, Hakan Samuelsson. “We are confident that in two years’ time, 10% of Volvo’s global sales will be electrified cars.”

Central to the plans are Volvo’s platform architectures. The Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) – which debuted with the new XC90 – will underpin all 60- and 90-series cars, and the newly-announced Common Modular Architecture, will be used by all 40-series cars.

Both platforms have been designed from the outset around plug-in hybrid and pure-electric drivetrains. The XC90 is already available with the T8 Twin-Engine All-Wheel-Drive drivetrain in Europe and in the UK from January. The system produces 407bhp, has a pure-electric range of around 25 miles and claimed fuel economy of over 100mpg with Co2 emissions of 49g/km.

The Twin Engine powertrain will eventually be offered in front-wheel-drive applications for models that can live without the weight and complication of AWD.

Details are sketchy on the fully electric car at the moment, Volvo only saying it is “confirmed for sale by 2019.” The ‘artist’s impression’ sketch above suggests a mid- to large-size car; a range of 300 miles or more will be needed to compete on equal terms with the Tesla Model S.

According to Volvo’s own research, Twin-Engine cars are driven in pure-electric mode around 50% of the time.

Volvo R&D boss, Peter Mertens, said: “We have come to a point where the cost versus benefit calculation is now almost positive. Battery technology has improved, costs are going down, and public acceptance of electrification is no longer an issue.”

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By Only Motors

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