Volvo's first fully electric car now has a debut date.
Volvo has yet to enter the EV segment, but that is about to change very soon. We already know the Swedish automaker has an ambitious electrification strategy, with plans to electrify every model from this year and launch five fully electric cars by 2021. By 2025, Volvo estimates EVs will make up half its sales. Volvo's first EV will be a fully electric version of the XC40 SUV, which was slated to debut by the end of the year. Now, Volvo has confirmed the electric XC40 will debut next month. And despite the lack of a combustion engine, Volvo claims it will be one of the safest cars on the road.
"Regardless of what drives a car forward, be it an electric machine or combustion engine, a Volvo must be safe," said Malin Ekholm, head of safety at Volvo Cars. "The fully electric XC40 will be one of the safest cars we have ever built."
Due to the absence of an engine, Volvo had to overcome several challenges to ensure the electric XC40 lives up to the company's scrupulous safety standards. Engineers had to completely redesign and reinforce the electric XC40's frontal structure to keep occupants safe.
To help keep passengers safe and the battery intact in the event of a collision, Volvo has also developed a new safety structure for the passengers and battery. The battery is protected by a safety cage featuring a frame of extruded aluminum and has been embedded in the middle of the car's body structure, creating a built-in crumple zone around the battery. Placing the battery in the floor also lowers the car's center of gravity, offering better protection against rollovers.
The car's body structure has also been reinforced as has the rear where the powertrain has been integrated into the body structure, resulting in a better distribution of collision forces away from the cabin in a crash, reducing the risk of injuries.
New safety technology will also debut in the electric XC40, including a new Advanced Driver Assistance Systems sensor platform featuring an array of radars, cameras, and ultrasonic sensors, and software developed by Zenuity. No powertrain details have been revealed yet, but Volvo says more information will be announced in the next few weeks before the electric XC40 makes its public debut on October 16. Pricing details also haven't been confirmed, but the electric XC40 is expected to be cheaper than its main rivals, the Tesla Model X and the Jaguar I-Pace.