FOCUS ON: Volvo
The Swedish company has long been at the forefront of the move towards electrification
Volvo jumped on to the electrification bandwagon early, being the first manufacturer to offer a plug-in hybrid version of each of its models, and its model line-up features extensive mild hybrid use, as well as a rapidly reducing availability of diesel. Indeed, Volvo pledged that from the S60 saloon, which launched in 2019, no new Volvo would have a diesel engine.
In fact, only the entry XC40 T2 and T3 models don’t feature mild hybrid assistance, while only the larger V60 and V90 estates and XC60 and XC90 SUVs have a diesel option. The saloon S60 is petrol mild hybrid or plug-in hybrid-only.
The company has its first pure electric vehicle launching imminently in the form of the XC40 Recharge (see Star Car, right and CCT Review on page 30), which is the first of at least five new EVs that will arrive at the rate of one per year. The next one is the C40 (see Coming Next, below), and beyond that, the new XC90 is likely to be the third one.
A new smaller electric car is also set to follow, based on parent company Geely’s new EV platform, along with at least one more electric vehicle by 2025.
✪ STAR CAR ✪
Volvo XC40 Recharge
WHAT IS IT?
Volvo’s first all-electric vehicle, the XC40 Recharge, which slightly confusingly is the same branding used for the XC40 plug-in hybrid.
HOW QUICK IS IT?
A sub-five second 0-62mph time is pretty darned rapid, with the whopping 300kW motor producing the equivalent of 408hp in a small crossover model.
WHATS THE RANGE?
The official range figure sits at 257 miles, with an 80% charge possible from empty in 40 minutes, if you can find a lesser-spotted 150kW charging point.
IS IT TAX EFFICIENT?
Yep. From April, it will be in the 1% BiK band, which will mean £20 per month for a higher-rate taxpayer on the First Edition model, the only one currently on the price list. It is £59,950 though.
ANYTHING ELSE I NEED TO KNOW?
More affordable versions with lower power, lower spec and two-wheel drive will follow.
Volvo has now gone beyond simply having a plug-in hybrid for each model in its range, with a total of 11 PHEVs across its seven models; the XC60 tops that list with three different power outputs of plug-in hybrid, including the high-performance Polestar Engineered model that produces 405hp from a combination of petrol engine and electric motor. The S80 saloon is available only with a PHEV powertrain, and both the XC40 and V60 have two different PHEV alternatives.
THE WIDER PICTURE
The brand aims to have sold more than a million electrified cars by 2025, at which point 50% of Volvo’s sales will be fully electric models and the other half hybrid. It then plans to be 100% electric by 2030.
The company is also looking at its footprint, with the aim of achieving climate-neutral manufacturing operations by 2025, reducing its overall carbon footprint by 40% per car in that time versus 2018 figures, and cutting total operating carbon emissions by 25% on 2018, including business travel and its retailer network. The long-term goal is to be entirely carbon neutral by 2040, with Volvo claiming that 80% of its global plants are powered by renewable energy.
Volvo’s second electric car, and the first one it will launch only as an EV, is due in the UK at the beginning of 2022.
The C40 will be on sale from this summer, and comes with a range of up to 261 miles, with an 80% charge possible within 40 minutes from a fast-charge point.
Volvo says its new car has “all the benefits of an SUV but with a lower and sleeker design”, featuring the higher SUV seating position but a more coupe-like roofline than its XC40 sibling.
Radically, Volvo has said its C40 will only be available to order online, although how that will work for fleets and leasing companies is still to be determined.