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Volvo unveils ambitious electrification plans

Twin Engine version expected for new premium sedan for 2016

Published: October 16, 2015, 9:00 AM
Updated: December 1, 2017, 6:01 PM

Volvo Twin Engine family models

Volvo is hoping to put a charge back into your driving, with the announcement of perhaps the most comprehensive electrification plans in today’s auto industry.

The Swedish company has announced plans (in order of implementation) for plug-in hybrids across its entire model range, a new stable of small electrified cars and a new dedicated electric car for sale by 2019. The strategy is all predicated on the expectations that electrified vehicles will account for roughly 10% of Volvo’s annual new car sales by the end of the decade.

“We believe that the time has come for electrified cars to cease being a niche technology and enter the mainstream,” said Håkan Samuelsson, President and CEO of Volvo Cars in outlining the company’s belief that plug-in hybrid cars offer customers the best combination of efficiency, range and convenience.

The first step is the evolution of its 90 series and 60 series cars, with plug-in hybrid versions. That’s already begun with the T8 Twin Engine All-Wheel Drive plug-in XC90, and will be followed up with a plug-in S90 premium sedan expected for the 2017 model year, to replace the S80 name. It will be followed up in quick order by a V90 wagon (replacing the V70) and a front-wheel drive Twin Engine plug-in (presumably the smaller S60 sedan). All products are developed from Volvo’s Scalable Product Architecture (SPA).

Volvo takes pride in claiming its XC90 T8 Twin Engine is one of the cleanest and most powerful seven-seat SUV on the market, delivering net 407 horsepower to reach 100 km/h in just 5.6 seconds, while emitting just 49 g/km CO2 with a pure electric range of 43 km and a segment-best 2.1 l/100 km combined fuel-economy.

Dr. Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President for Research and Development claims Volvo research has shown that “people are driving our Twin Engine cars in electric mode around 50% of the time, meaning our plug-in hybrids already offer a real alternative to conventional powertrain systems.”

Beyond its large car platform, Volvo then turns its attention toward introducing an all-new 40 series based on its Compact Modular Architecture (CMA). The current European-only V40 hatchback is derived from Ford’s Global C Platform used for the C-Max, Escape, Focus, Transit Connect and Lincoln MKC. The current Mazda5 and previous Mazda3 are/were also derived from the platform.

Last on the depth chart is a new all-electric car for sale by 2019.

“With around 40 years of experience in the field of electrification, Volvo Cars has learned a lot about battery management along the way, delivering the best range per kilowatt hour in the industry,” concluded Dr. Mertens. “Battery technology has improved, costs are going down, and public acceptance of electrification is no longer a question. We have come to a point where the cost versus benefit calculation for electrification is now almost positive.”