Volvo has announced that its first battery-electric vehicle (BEV) will be a version of its compact crossover SUV, the XC40.
- Volvo plans to offer plug-based options on all future models
- The all-electric XC40 also will feature a new electrical system eventually letting it run autonomously
- Technically, Volvo already debuted an all-electric model, but it will be badged and sold by its performance sub-brand, Polestar.
Volvo likes to talk about its “electrified” future, a term that covers the plug-in hybrids already fleshing out its brand’s line-up, as well as pure battery-electric vehicles.
We’ll get a look at Volvo’s first BEV, a version of its XC40, next month, but the automaker is already teasing us with an image of what that battery SUV would look like if you had X-ray eyes. It promises to be both the cleanest and most energy-efficient model the Swedish automaker has ever sold, but Volvo also claims it enhances another key brand attribute.
“Regardless of what drives a car forward… a Volvo must be safe,” said Malin Ekholm, the brand’s safety chief. “The fully electric XC40 will be one of the safest cars we have ever built.”
Safety remains an essential part of the XC40. (Image: Volvo)
Among other things, its new Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) platform can manage a broader range of smart safety technologies and, the company said, “lays the foundation for the future introduction of autonomous drive technology.”
The Swedes are holding hard details until the new EV makes its formal debut on October 16. But, as the teaser images make clear, it’s not just a case of stuffing lots of batteries into every possible nook and cranny of the standard XC40. Like most other second-generation electric vehicles, key drivetrain components, including the lithium-ion battery pack and the twin motors – one on each axle – are mounted under the load floor.
That approach has numerous benefits, lowering the center of gravity, for one thing. Additionally, without a gas engine under the hood, Volvo can use some of that space to better absorb impact forces during a frontal crash. And the battery itself gets a protective cage and crumple zones to protect it in a collision.
We’ll have to wait for details, such as pricing and range – but, in today’s market, we’d be shocked if the XC40 EV doesn’t top 200 miles per charge.
WHY THIS MATTERS
Volvo has promised to offer electrified options on all future products, a move that should yield better energy efficiency, lower emissions and improved safety, as well.