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Shanghai show: Volvo’s first EV to be built in China
Australia waits as Volvo’s first all-electric car based on CMA platform draws near
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20 Apr 2017
By TERRY MARTIN
VOLVO will build its first fully electric car in China and plans to export it to global markets, including Australia, from 2019.
Part of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group since 2010, when the Chinese auto giant purchased the Swedish brand from Ford Motor Company, Volvo Cars used the Shanghai auto show this week to confirm the production location for the all-new model that will form a key part of its ambitious electrification strategy announced 12 months ago.
Under the plan, Volvo intends to have sold a cumulative one million electrified cars worldwide by 2025, relying on this inaugural all-electric vehicle, other newly developed EVs and at least two hybrid versions in every model line, including at least one plug-in hybrid.
Although Australia will be a small player, particularly given the lack of government subsidies and recharging infrastructure for EVs, Volvo Car Australia director of PR and corporate Greg Bosnich told GoAuto this week that “discussions (are) ongoing but (we) anticipate arrival of EV during 2020”.
VCA managing director Kevin McCann has previously confirmed that the electric model, other EVs and the forthcoming hybrids “are all right-hand drive and are on the radar for Australia”.
For the past 18 months, the Australian subsidiary has also been working towards the goal of having electrified vehicles account for 10 per cent of its sales by the end of 2017 – a target that now looks set to push out towards the broader global deadline of 2020.
Details of Volvo’s first EV remain under wraps, other than the fact that it will be based on the Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) – co-developed in China for use with fellow Geely brand Lynk & Co – that will underpin the forthcoming new 40-series models due here from 2018.
The EV’s body style is not yet confirmed, but will be designed for broad international acceptance. Hybrid and regular internal combustion variants are expected to follow.
The Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) currently used on larger 90-series vehicles such as the current XC90 – and will underpin the next 60-series mid-size range, kicking off with the new XC60 later this year – will also spawn full-electric variants.
Volvo said in Shanghai this week that the decision to make its first electric car in China “highlights the central role China will play in Volvo’s electrified future and underlines China’s growing sophistication as a manufacturing centre for the automotive industry”.
Chief executive Hakan Samuelsson said: “Volvo Cars fully supports the Chinese government’s call for cleaner air as outlined in the latest five-year plan. 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,” he said.
Volvo has three manufacturing facilities in China – Daqing, which produces 90-series models, Chengdu (60 series) and Luqiao (40 series). The latter will build the first EV, alongside other CMA-based vehicles such as the forthcoming XC40 compact SUV and Lynk & Co’s inaugural model, the 01 crossover.
Volvo Car Australia has no qualms about importing vehicles from China, with Mr McCann telling GoAuto late last year: ““If there was ever a model that was built in a Chinese factory that suited our market, we wouldn’t baulk at the idea that it is built in China because we know that our global standards are the same.
“We know (that) what’s more important about the car is the way it is developed.
And alongside that, the way the engineering processes to build it are developed as well,” he said.
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