Next-gen Volvos will pack EV and autonomous tech, starting with the new XC90
NEXT-GEN XC90 WILL SPARK OFF A NEW ELECTRIFIED LINE-UP FOR VOLVO
Volvo XC90 New SUV to kick-start next-gen Volvos
An all-new generation of Volvos with hybrid and fully electric powertrain options will begin to launch from 2022, starting with the next XC90. The new seven-seat SUV will be the first model to use Volvo’s updated SPA2 architecture, which will underpin all next-generation versions of its 60-series and 90-series cars.
The launch of the current second-generation XC90 in 2014 was the catalyst for a dramatic change in Volvo’s global sales volume. The marque’s annual sales have increased by almost 300,000 units since 2013 and the firm achieved a record 705,452 sales in 2019. The third-gen XC90 will be expected to build on that momentum.
The automated driving tech will include hardware to allow full hands-off and eyes-off driving
Diesel will not be offered with the next round of SPA cars. Instead, petrol power in combination with a mild or plug-in hybrid system will be offered alongside battery-electric versions of the new-era SPA-based cars, including the XC90 in a model that is likely to be badged XC90 Recharge. XC90 production will switch to Volvo’s new US plant in South Carolina for this next generation.
Confirming the launch of the next XC90, Volvo boss Håkan Samuelsson said the SUV will also bring with it a high degree of automated driving potential on highways that would be optional for customers.
The advanced automated driving technology will include the hardware to allow full hands-off and eyes-off driving, should regulations allow it in time. However, Samuelsson dialled back from Volvo offering a fully autonomous car, as much of the industry is now also doing. The new software will be optional and have premium pricing to begin with, to reflect the fact that buyers using it “can then use the time for something else”.
Samuelsson said Volvo is now entering a new phase as a company, having “caught up to be a premium competitor with a unique brand promise” thanks to the success of the past half-decade.
“Now the phase is one of transformation and acting faster” to the changing automotive world through the likes of electrification, according to Samuelsson, who added: “It’s not the biggest who wins, but the fastest adaptor.”
This next phase includes a huge push towards electrification as part of Volvo’s plans for half of all its sales to be pure-electric cars by 2025. Samuelsson confirmed that Volvo has secured the battery supply to achieve this ambition – likely to be 500,000 cars a year, with plug-in hybrids on top – from LG and CITC, addressing an industry-wide concern that there may not be the supply to meet the globally rising demand for batteries to power electric cars.
Volvo’s strategy for electric cars is to offer fully electric versions of existing models – starting with the launch of its XC40 Recharge later this year – rather than create bespoke models, a role it believes it has covered with the new Polestar electric performance car maker that it owns.
“To transform fast, there is no other way than to launch a bespoke EV,” said Samuelsson, but taking the time to develop modular architectures that can support internal-combustion engines and hybrids as well as electric cars is a “more sustainable way of doing it”.
In the shorter term, the Swedish firm will continue to roll out mild-hybrid powertrains, with the S90 and V90 range set to be updated later this year.
V90 (pictured) and S90 saloon will be updated this year. New XC90 will use petrol-electric or pure-electric power.