When it comes to in-car technologies, Volvo is one of the prime European carmakers that have always been at the forefront of experimental new technology. The company has teamed up with Uber in its tests for self-driving autonomous vehicles. It had also previously tied up with Microsoft and its HoloLens team to give potential buyers a comprehensive virtual reality experience of its cars before making a purchase. Cars, after all, are expensive investments.
Naturally, Volvo’s plans to join the all-electric car list is no surprise. The company has recently unveiled a new platform, and this architecture will be used in the company’s first ever electric vehicle that is expected to hit the markets in about two years’ time. Volvo will also be aiming to make it a mass-market car that will appeal to many buyers, essentially posing a threat to the much-talked-about Tesla Model 3.
Here’s everything that you should know about Volvo’s very first all-electric consumer vehicle.
The all-new Compact Modular Architecture platform
Volvo’s upcoming electric vehicle will use the company’s newly engineered Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) platform, which is also being used in two of Volvo’s entry-segment concept cars - the XC40 SUV and S40 sedan. The new compact platform will be used by the Swedish company in lieu of lighter weight and more practical dimensions for a first electric vehicle. There were initial inklings of Volvo planning to build an EV on a larger platform, but that seems to have been shelved for now.
If and when Volvo decides to shift to bigger platforms, and this will possibly happen after the first Volvo EV is launched, expect the company to use the Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform that is presently being used for the XC90 SUV and S90 sedan.
The upcoming EV from Volvo will reportedly support batteries of up to 100kWh. Volvo’s cars are built on modular platforms that can be reworked as per need, and using a 100kWh, Volvo claims that its electric vehicles will be able travel up to 400 kilometres in one full charge cycle. In comparison, among other all-electric vehicles that are already present or are expected to launch at around the same time, the present-generation Tesla Model S has rated travel range of 550 kilometres in one charge, and the Pininfarina-designed Hybrid Kinetic Group’s upcoming K550 and K750 SUVs will get batteries with advanced energy recovery systems, which will reportedly extend travel range up to 1,000 kilometres in one charge.
While there are obviously no confirmations on this, the new Volvo electric vehicle is expected to be aimed at the masses, and pricing for the car is expected to be within $40,000 (approx. Rs. 25 lac). This will make its first electric vehicle in line with Tesla’s Model 3, which is also meant to be one that introduces electric cars to a wider audience. The Indian government, meanwhile, is reportedly exploring clean energy automobile avenues, and competitive pricing may also help the likes of Tesla, Skoda, Chevrolet and Volvo to introduce EVs in the massive automobile market of the country.
China as the manufacturing hub
Volvo’s new electric vehicle will be made out of China, and subsequently be exported to the rest of the world. The company, owned by Chinese automaker Geely, reportedly sees China as a crucial hub of electric cars in the near future. The Chinese technology giants are actively researching on ways to explore enhanced battery lives and driving range of electric vehicles, and it now remains to be seen how the new Volvo EV finally shapes up.