Volvo is betting big on electrification, announcing a broad strategy to further embrace plug-in hybrid and all-electric technologies going forward. With a range of new models on the way, including an all-electric model slated for 2019, Volvo is targeting 10 percent of its global sales within two years to come from electrified vehicles.
The architecture fits the 2.0-liter supercharged and turbocharged engine transversely between the front wheels, with room for electric motor control gear between the engine and the front cowl when equipped with an optional 400-horsepower plug-in hybrid powertrain that sends electric power to the rear wheels. SPA has a double-wishbone front and integral link rear suspension, with a transverse leaf spring in back except when equipped with air suspension.
The Volvo XC90 T8 plug-in hybrid battery pack is located in the center tunnel, though of course the dedicated SPA all-electric vehicle will use the engine compartment, center tunnel and part of the rear cargo area for batteries. Volvo hasn’t decided whether the 2019 pure EV will come with front- or all-wheel-drive, or both. Volvo executives say it will emphasize performance as well as a long full-charge range.
Additionally, Volvo says it will expand its plug-in hybrid range to include a Twin-Engine, front-wheel-drive variant.
Volvo’s commitment to electrification comes straight from the top, as president and CEO Håkan Samuelsson stressed in a statement that “The time has come for electrified cars to cease being a niche technology and enter the mainstream.”
Volvo senior vice president for research and development Peter Mertens backs this up with data indicating that drivers of Volvo plug-in hybrids drive in all-electric mode around 50 percent of the time. “We have come to a point where the cost versus benefit calculation for electrification is now almost positive,” he said in a statement. “Battery technology has improved, costs are going down, and public acceptance of electrification is no longer a question.”