Electrification changes everything.
For better or worse, Volvo is quickly learning that sedans, once its bread and butter segment, are a dying breed. Case in point: the American-built Volvo S60. Sales are down and it's not only because of the coronavirus pandemic. And as the case with nearly all other automakers, crossovers and SUVs are more popular than ever, SUV coupes like the BMW X6 included. So naturally, Volvo intends to adapt to this new reality, although we doubt the S60 and larger S90 will be dropped from the lineup.
However, Auto Express has learned from Volvo's Senior Vice President of Design that all-electric SUV coupes are in the works.
"Moving into electrification gives us an opportunity to rethink what cars are. We're more open to not just repeating what we've done before but also looking at opportunities both in bigger and smaller cars," Page said. "As a design team we're always exploring beyond the obvious, and of course with electric vehicles it brings opportunities and challenges in terms of aerodynamics and balancing with people's needs in terms of space."
But Page added that SUVs and electric vehicles "contradict each other," hence the decision to launch high-riding sleek four doors. "The tricky part of the future is the SUV world, because the traditional SUV is about a high h-[hip] point and roof," he said. "As we go into EVs, of course, the value of range and aerodynamics becomes a real point. How does the world look when you have people wanting that high position and all the usability of an SUV, balanced with the fact they want range? Clean aerodynamics."
Volvo's sister brand has already launched an EV with a raised ride height though has a fastback body style. The Polestar 2 is aimed directly at the Tesla Model 3 but Volvo seems to prefer to take aim at the upcoming Audi Q4 e-tron Sportback, for example. Despite the current global economic situation, Volvo has no plans to walk away from its commitment to launch at least one new electric vehicle per year until 2025.
Page didn't provide a year when Volvo's first all-electric SUV coupe will arrive, but we reported a couple of years ago the brand trademarked the XC50 name which clearly indicates a new model is planned between the XC40 and XC60. Will it be all-electric? We could be finding out relatively soon.