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Volvo increases the charge on its electric fleet

Charged up: Volvo will introduce its XC90 T8 plug-in hybrid SUV to the Australian market shortly and the S90 T8 sedan (left) is likely to follow.

More hybrids, EV coming EVs as Volvo targets one million electrified cars by 2025

23 Apr 2016

VOLVO has announced a bold plan to sell a cumulative total of up to one million electrified cars by 2025 with the Australian market inline to take more electric and hybrid variants in the future.

Some of the ways it aims to reach that tally is by introducing its first all-electric model that will go on sale by 2019, as well as offering at least two hybrid versions of every model in its line-up.

The Chinese-owned Swedish car-maker has developed two new vehicle architectures over the past five years with hybrid or full electric drivetrains in mind – the Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) and Compact Modular Architecture (CMA).

The SPA is the foundation for the 90 and 60 series vehicles that made its production debut with last year’s XC90 SUV and will be followed up this year with the S90/V90 BMW 5 Series-fighting large car range.

Volvo is preparing to launch a new 40 series range on the small CMA platform, which will include a replacement for the V40, a rumoured small sedan and a crossover likely to be dubbed XC40. The company said all of these new model line-ups would have electrified versions.

Volvo Cars president and chief executive Hakan Samuelsson described the target as “deliberately ambitious”.

“It is going to be a challenge, but Volvo wants to be at the forefront of this shift to electrification,” he said.

The car-maker will introduce some of its petrol-electric technology to Australia in the coming months in the form of the all-wheel drive XC90 T8 plug-in hybrid, which can travel up to 40km on electric power alone.

Volvo Cars Australia managing director Kevin McCann told GoAuto the company was on track to meet a number of its ambitious global targets for vehicle electrification.

Mr McCann said the two new platforms have been engineered for hybrid and full electric drivetrains, as well as left- and right-hand drive.

“The platforms have been front-loaded and engineered for electric powerplants, so we don’t have to reverse-engineer things,” he said.

“We’re launching our first plug-in hybrid in the XC90, the T8, which has good performance, consumption and emission numbers driven by meeting the various support criteria for these types of cars in Europe, when you have the incentives, that accelerates the acceptance of them.”

With no government incentives for hybrid or electric sales in Australia, Volvo is philosophical about sales targets and costs but Mr McCann said the regulators are more open to “coming to the hybrid party”.

“There’s more receptiveness about what’s possible and how we get there … they’re not resisting being on the invitation list, if not quite coming to the party yet,” he said.

Mr McCann said right-hand-drive markets, including Australia and the United Kingdom, combine to have their voice heard on issues of product availability for hybrid models.

“After 2020 we’ll have our first battery electric vehicle, we’ll roll those out into 2025 so the BEV range will go.

“All are RHD and are on the radar for Australia, there’s not much that isn’t built in both these days … the reality is that markets like the UK, Japan and Australia are significant markets to the company, between the three of us we have a good representative voice in the process.” Mr McCann said the response to the XC90 T8, which retails for $122,950, has been promising, with more than 60 paid-up orders.

The electrified vehicle pledge forms part of a wide-ranging review of Volvo’s strategic sustainability program that contains several new commitments that place sustainability at the centre of its future business operations.

The new commitment, which bears the name ‘omtanke’, Swedish for ‘consideration’ or ‘caring’, is one of several being made by Volvo Cars globally, including climate neutral operations by 2025, filling 35 per cent of its leading positions with women by 2020, the same target year for its vision that no-one will be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo.

The car-maker is also laying claim to industry-leading clean air delivery solutions and materials.

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