After nearly a century, big changes are happening.
The all-new Volvo XC40 Recharge will soon arrive in dealerships and, chances are, it'll be a huge success. But the Recharge differs in one major way compared to the regular and wildly popular XC40: it's all-electric. For anyone who believed the XC40 Recharge is little more than a niche model catered to eco-conscious buyers then you thought wrong. Volvo aims to fully embrace electrification across its entire lineup faster than some expected.
Car and Driver has learned from Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson that the next-generation Volvo XC90 SUV could be the last new model to be offered with the option of anything but an all-electric powertrain.
"It depends really on how fast customers will want to move, and how quickly electric infrastructure will be built up," he explained. "Maybe I could answer like this: Our ambition is definitely that we should be fully electric before it is made mandatory by governments."
Bear in mind the state of California just recently announced plans to ban the sale of internal combustion-engined vehicles by 2035. Samuelsson is simply acknowledging new realities. He further admitted Volvo has a number of new electric models on the way, slotted below and above the XC40 Recharge. Volvo and its parent company Geely, which also owns Polestar and Lotus, is in an excellent position to veer away from combustion engined-vehicles, even plug-in hybrids, thanks to its new Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA).
This new platform is expected to be the basis for at least one new all-electric Volvo, the recently rumored XC20. "For a smaller car than the XC40 you can argue there is no point doing a combustion version, because a small gasoline-driven car is also a cheap car. The question [for us] is whether it can be premium and profitable."
Next year we can expect a new EV-only Volvo that will share the XC40's Compact Modular Architecture (CMA). This setup also underpins the Polestar 2. And yes, the next-generation XC90 will certainly have an all-electric version, and its expected PHEV counterpart could end up being Volvo's last usage of a combustion engine.