Volvo announced this week that it will build its first electric car in China and that it will offer the vehicle globally. The Geely-owned automaker made the announcement during the Shanghai auto show. Volvo’s new EV will be based on the Volvo CMA (Compact Modular Architecture) platform earmarked for smaller vehicles and is expected to be available starting in 2019.
The plan is a part of Volvo’s commitment to sell 1 million electrified (though not electric-only) vehicles globally by 2025; with China being the world’s largest market for pure-electrics and hybrids, the Shanghai auto show announcement makes sense. Of course, there is also the fact that Volvo is owned by a Chinese manufacturer and has been slowly shifting production plans of future models closer to its parent company. Volvo currently has three manufacturing facilities in China producing the 90-series and 60-series cars, with one plant set set aside for the production of future 40-series models.
Volvo recently previewed a number of small vehicles that could be based on the CMA platform, garnering positive responses: The automaker unveiled the 40.1 Concept previewing the new XC40 last May and also debuted the 40.2 Concept, which previewed a future small sedan that could be badged S40.
Geely-owned Lynk & Co.’s Shanghai auto show 03 Concept this week also previewed a small sedan, which complemented the 01 Crossover Concept scheduled to enter production later this year. The 01 Concept is powered by a gas-electric powertrain coupling an electric motor with a 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine.
The model announced by Volvo this week, however, will be fully electric and will be sold under the Volvo badge. But this EV may be followed up by gasoline-electric hybrids down the road. The new model will be built alongside the new XC40 and the production version of the Lynk 01 compact crossover.
“Volvo Cars fully supports the Chinese government’s call for cleaner air as outlined in the latest five-year plan,” said Hakan Samuelsson, chief executive of Volvo Cars. “It is fully in-line with our own core values of environmental care, quality and safety. We believe that electrification is the answer to sustainable mobility.”
Beyond the CMA-based electric car, Volvo also indicated it is working on larger pure-electric vehicles that will be based on the larger SPA (Scalable Product Architecture) platform, which underpins the current XC90 and the upcoming, redesigned XC60.