Volvo’s future growth as it moves to a greater emphasis on electrification will gain a significant boost when the all-electric XC40 arrives next year, a car described as a “game changer” by Volvo’s UK managing director Kristian Elvefors.
Starting from £59,985, the XC40 Recharge will offer a range of 208 miles and a sub-5.0-second 0-62mph acceleration time from its 408hp powertrain, and Elvefors is expecting the car to have a big impact, especially as he looks to grow Volvo’s volume in the company car arena.
“Fleet is an area I would like to go even more into, one of the areas I think we were underperforming in, and I think we can do more,” he told Company Car Today. “The progress you see on plug-in hybrids and now with the EV, the tax benefits on these vehicles will give us that opportunity; the XC40 plug-in hybrid and BEV are essential for that growth.”
Volvo has seen a huge shift from diesel to PHEV this year, partially due to reducing the number of diesel models in its line-up. In the first three quarters of this year, the company as running at a rate of 28% plug-in hybrid and 36% diesel among its registrations, but that has shifted to 51% PHEV and just 9% diesel in its sold order bank going forward.
“We are a true electric company and we are driving that shift, we are not just selling plug-in hybrids as a substitute,” Elvefors continued. “That’s our main portfolio and supporting the 2025 strategy to have more than 50% of our sales electric.”
He described the new electric XC40 as a “game changer for us, and shows where we are heading with the rest of the product portfolio”, predicting that the majority of EVs the brand sells in 2025 will be XC40s, such is the domination of that small SUV in the range. More than half of Volvos sold in the UK are XC40s.
Volvo’s UK boss predicts that, for 2021, the 1500 units of electric XC40 coming to the UK will be somewhere around the rough volume to prevent significant lead times developing. “I think we are getting what wec an sell next year. In the first year we will always see higher demand than supply,” he continued. “I think the fact is that everyone will have a shortage of supply next year.”