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Volvo to Build its 1st EV in China

Will share same CMA architecture as next-gen XC50.

by on Apr.20, 2017

A platform to built upon: the electrified CMA architecture that will be used for Volvo's 1st EV.

While electric drive systems are powering a significant share of the new models on display at this year’s Shanghai Motor Show, Volvo is showing off a new platform – the one it use for the Swedish-based brand’s first fully electric vehicle which, officials revealed, will go on sale in 2019.

Volvo has been an aggressive proponent of clean powertrain technology – the most powerful drivetrain it currently offers is the plug-in T8 found on models like the big XC90 SUV and S90 sedan. But it is getting ready to market a battery-electric model that will meet tough new emissions and mileages standards in the U.S., China, Europe and Japan.

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And it will be produced in China, at least initially, the automaker said during the Shanghai Motor Show press preview – though other models using electric propulsion are expected to be built in Europe and, most likely, at the new assembly plant Volvo is setting up near Charleston, South Carolina.

The initial model will be based off the Compact Modular Architecture, or CMA platform, that Volvo has developed with its Szechuan-based parent Zheijang Geely. The electrified version of the CMA will be used by all three of Geely’s brands, including  the new Lynk & Co. which debuted a production version of its 01 SUV model in Shanghai this week.

Volvo already offers a plug-in T8 powertrain in vehicles like this XC90 Inscription.

The 01 will offer a full BEV, a plug-in hybrid, and two gas-powered engine packages. LynkCo hopes to take itself into Europe and then into the U.S. market by 2019.

(Click Here to check out the Lynk & Co. 01 SUV.)

Volvo currently operates three assembly plants in China, including one near Geely headquarters in Chengdu. That factory already produced the stretched Inscription version of the S70 sedan, the first volume Chinese production vehicle to be sold in the United States. It is now producing the 60-Series, while another plant in Daqing makes the 90-Series. The third plant, in Luqiao, makes 40-Series models.

The Swedish brand is also working on a fully electrified version of its larger 70- and 90-Series models, to be based off the latest Scalable Product Architecture, or SPA platform. That should be ready by early in the coming decade.

(Volvo getting close to launch of 1st U.S. assembly plant. Click Here for the latest.)

According to Håkan Samuelsson, chief executive of Volvo Cars, the goal is to produce 1 million electrified models – including hybrids, plug-ins and BEVs – by 2025.

Volvo is by no means alone in focusing on electrification at this year’s Shanghai Motor Show. But while there are lots of new models, not all makers are excited about the technology. Though China has pushed past the U.S. to become the world’s largest market for plug-based vehicles, a number of manufacturers are pressing the government to rollback aggressive electrification plans, much as they’ve been doing with the new Trump Administration.

Not Volvo, which appears to be fully onboard the Chinese plan.

“Volvo Cars fully supports the Chinese government’s call for cleaner air as outlined in the latest five-year plan. It is fully in-line with our own core values of environmental care, quality and safety,” said Samuelsson. “We believe that electrification is the answer to sustainable mobility.”

(Mercedes rolls out 2018 update of flagship S-Class in Shanghai. Click Here to check it out.)

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