Volvo Sees a Future That’s All Electric
Compared to most brands, Volvo’s simple lineup is a thing of beauty. Even in the midst of a full-scale rebranding, its lineup for the future is this: 40-Series, 60-Series, 90-Series, each with a sedan (S), wagon (V), and SUV (XC) model. Split between two modular platforms, the models will each draw from styling elements seen on the recent Concept Coupe and Concept Estate show cars. And if the luxurious and surprisingly sexy all-new XC90 is any indication of the Swedish brand’s future, we expect some big things from these upcoming models.
While the XC90 is a winner overall, the king of the hill is undoubtedly the T8, the all-wheel drive hybrid range-topper. Its turbocharged and supercharged 2.0 liter inline-four and electric motor combine to make a whopping 400 horsepower and 472 pound-feet of torque, proving that “Volvo,” “full-size SUV,” and “fun to drive” are three terms that deserve to be used in the same sentence. This week, as the brand delivers more details on its all-new Compact Modular Architecture, which will debut in 2017 and underpin the 40-Series, the brand has followed up with this bombshell: Hybrids are coming to the entire Volvo lineup, with an all-electric model on the way by 2019.
The first element of the new electrification strategy involves the introduction of plug-in hybrid versions of its 90 series and 60 series larger cars, based on the company’s new Scalable Product Architecture. This process has already begun 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.
The S90 is expected to bow at January’s Detroit Auto Show, and is positioned to be the brand’s BMW 5 Series fighter. While we don’t know much in the way of details yet, Volvo will need to give the base S90 plenty of power to keep up with BMW’s pride and joy. Could a T8-style performance hybrid be the brand’s answer to the legendary M5? Hey, it may be a tall order, but we can’t help imagining the possibilities of a greener, meaner Prancing Moose roasting ze Germans on the track.
While it’s big news that Volvo is expanding its hybrid lineup, the EV announcement is the real show-stopper. The company says that its hybrid lineup will eventually spawn “an entirely new range of electrified smaller cars,” kicking off with the 2019 model. And to prove that it’s serious, it predicts that this first EV will account for 10% of total sales after just one year on the market. Making the announcement that much more tantalizing, the company released a single rendering (above) giving us a glimpse into its electrified future.
The Syd Mead-style illustration is purposely vague, but if anything, that makes the announcement all the more exciting. With the company in the midst of such a comprehensive rollout of new models, it shows that Volvo is already thinking two steps ahead, and previewing the styling we’ll be seeing well into the next decade. And frankly, if this is the direction Volvo is taking, it’ll join soon Mazda in offering one of the best-looking complete lineups in the game.
With all the announcements coming out of Gothenberg lately, Volvo is beginning to rival Tesla in its sheer number of newsworthy reveals about its future lineup. It’s no secret that the brand needs to make a huge comeback in the U.S. in order to grow, and while many struggling automakers set big goals to right the ship (see: Volkswagen over the past five years), Volvo is setting itself apart. Not only has it hit all its development goals so far, it’s making it look easy. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Volvo’s the one to watch.
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