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Volvo Unveils New XC40 and S40 Concepts

Underlying CMA platform will be shared with Chinese parent Geely.

by on May.19, 2016

This concept will reappear next year as the completely redesigned Volvo XC40.

Volvo is in the midst of a complete brand makeover, and the automaker is giving us a hint of its next move in an aggressive, top-to-bottom product rollout with the unveiling of the new S40 and XC40 concepts.

Both models will mark a significant step forward, but not only for the Swedish automaker. In production, the next-gen Volvo XC40 and Volvo S40 models will ride on the maker’s all-new Compact Modular Architecture which is designed to be shared with Chinese parent Geely. It is, in fact, a key to Geely’s long-term goal to transform itself into a truly global automaker.

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“CMA has helped us to capture something special, something youthful in our new concept cars. They have an energy, a disruptive and engaging urban character that makes them stand out,” said Thomas Ingenlath, Volvo’s senior vice president of design.


Volvo Adding Plug-ins Across Entire Range

And an all-electric model to come by 2019.

by on Oct.15, 2015

The Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine charging.

Volvo is clearly getting charged up over battery power. The Swedish maker, which only recently added its first plug-in hybrid model, plans to add PHEV versions of its entire line-up, and will also introduce its first pure battery-electric vehicle, or BEV, by 2019.

Unlike some competitors, Volvo put an emphasis on performance with its first plug-in, the so-called “Twin Engine” drivetrain introduced on the 2016 Volvo XC90. It is expected to follow a similar strategy with future plug-based models.

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“We believe that the time has come for electrified cars to cease being a niche technology and enter the mainstream,” Hakan Samuelsson, CEO of Volvo Cars, said in a statement.


Volvo Accelerating Plans for China

When is a Swedish carmaker not a Swedish carmaker?

by on Apr.30, 2012

The Volvo Concept You hints at the direction the maker plans to take, including its shift to small 4-cylinder and battery-based powertrains.

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to call Volvo a Swedish car company.  These days, most of its top management – headed by CEO Stefan Jacoby, a former Volkswagen executive – is German and it is now owned by China’s big Zhejiang Geely Holding Group.

Further confusing things, Volkswagen may soon have as much or more production capacity in China as it does in Europe, Jacoby confided in during a conversation at the Beijing Motor Show.

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Work is already underway to erect Volvo’s first Chinese assembly plant and, he confirmed, everything is in place to add a second Chinese factory.  But now, he revealed, “We are considerating a powertrain plant in the greater Beijing region” that would likely meet most or all the engine and transmission needs for both those assembly lines.


Geely Investing $11 Bil in Volvo

Plans to rapidly expand Swedish maker’s presence in China.

by on Apr.09, 2012

Geely Chairman Li Shufu and Volvo CEO Stefan Jacoby.

Volvo is about to get a helping hand – a big one – from its Chinese parent, Geely Automobile Holdings, which plans to pump $11 billion into the Swedish maker.

According to a report in Wirtschafts Woche, the investment is intended to increase Volvo’s presence in the growing Chinese market.  Among other things, Geely wants to increase Volvo’s R&D, introduce new technologies and build a new engine plant.  Volvo is planning to migrate to a 4-cylinder-only powertrain strategy in the coming years.

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“We want to revive Volvo and give the brand its strength back,” Geely Chairman Li Shufu told the German weekly.

Exactly where the money will come from is a matter of debate.  While Chairman Li made it sound like Geely will be raising the capital, Volvo Per-Ake Froberg told the Reuters news service that the Swedish maker will have to come up with the capital.


First Drive: Volvo C30 Electric

Lease price, $2,100 a month, should plunge when next Volvo battery car debuts.

by on Mar.28, 2011

Volvo plans to produce only about 400 of the C30 Electric coupes, but the drivetrain will soon reappear in a new mass-market battery car.

The little coupe slips out the side door of a nondescript warehouse on the fringe of Indianapolis.  Tickling the throttle it surges ahead and effortlessly merges into traffic, yet so quiet it’s easy to miss as it rushes by.  Were it not for the bright white decals on the side of the car and the chrome DRIVe badge on the back one might not even notice the Volvo C30 Electric.

But the little coupe is the latest entry in a growing revolution, the move to electric power.  Later this year, Volvo will put 400 of the C30 Electric battery cars on the road, a quarter of them here in the United States.  They’re part of a project designed to test the new technology before Volvo launches a second battery-electric vehicle, or BEV, targeting a more mainstream market.

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Getting in on the pilot program won’t be cheap.  Volvo expects to lease the C30 battery cars for a whopping 1,500 Euros a month, about $2,100 at the current exchange rate.  That’s nearly six times more than you’d pay to lease either the new Nissan Leaf BEV, or the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid.

Even then, laments Lennart Stegland, president of Volvo’s specialty vehicle subsidiary, the Swedish maker won’t come close to recovering the cost of the development program, never mind the price tag on its 24 kilowatt-hours of lithium-ion batteries.  But so it goes, he sighs, as you launch into an entirely new world of technology.


Volvo Readying V60 Plug-in Diesel Hybrid

System creates virtual all-wheel-drive.

by on Feb.22, 2011

Volvo will unveil the world's first diesel-electric plug-in at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show.

Volvo will introduce what it bills as the world’s first diesel-electric plug-in hybrid at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show.

The system, which will be used to power the Swedish maker’s V60 wagon, will differ significantly from current hybrid powertrains, including traditional systems used in the Toyota Prius and more advanced plug-ins found in the 2011 Chevrolet Volt.  Volvo’s plug-in will create a virtual all-wheel-drive system, using the diesel to drive the front wheels and the electric motors to drive the rear.

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The V60 plug-in will be the first electric drive model from Volvo – though the maker is also working up a pure battery-electric vehicle based on the smaller C30 — and its lithium-ion battery pack is expected to yield about 32 miles when running solely in battery made.  The rear-mounted electric motor can produce a maximum 70 horsepower.

But when the battery runs down – or extra power is needed – the 215-horsepower diesel kicks in.  When they’re both operating together in Sport mode, the two power sources can produce 285 hp and a full 472 lb-ft of tire spinning torque, launching the V60 diesel plug-in from 0 to 60 in just 6.9 seconds.