Following the release of the S60 sports saloon, Thomas Ingenlath, Volvo's head of design, confirmed that the carmaker's first fully electric vehicle will be a version of the XC40, with the next-generation XC90 also getting an EV variant, Autocar reports.
Ingenlath announced that the all-electric XC40 will be released after the 2, the latest creation of its electric performance brand Polestar, and would be closely followed by an electric version of the XC90, expected in 2021.
Confirming longstanding rumours and suspicions, Ingenlath also confirmed that Volvo would not be designing all-new electric models, but rather making electric versions of existing cars in its range.
He said: 'It’s not a secret any more that the first full electric Volvo is on its way with the XC40 coming. It will arrive very soon after the Polestar 2. That is the first to come that’s not exotic. We’ll start with XC40 and then on it will come step after step into our model range. The next car will be the next-generation XC90.
'That will be the masterplan of how electrification will come to the Volvo product range. We will not establish products beside our hybrids, we will introduce electrification as a powertrain variant within the existing portfolio.
'You could say that is different to a lot of the mass-production brands. But I have a hard time to understand how their plan will work in the long run. Electrification is the future of the automotive industry, so how do you handle that as soon as you come to the majority of electric cars?
'How do you handle it in your portfolio? I think it’s much more natural to say it’s a powertrain variant that over time will take up the majority of the sold vehicles.'
Contuining the Polestar trend, both the XC40 and XC90 EVs are expected to use lithium ion batteries. The two electric cars will slot alongside the existing plug-in hybrid XC40 in the Volvo range as it works towards its target of making half its sales volume all-electric cars by 2025.
As well as being Volvo's design chief, Thomas Ingenlath heads up the Polestar sub-brand. In that regard, he suggested that Polestar could explore the possibility of creating EV-only models.
He said: 'We definitely don’t want to bring something that we’ve so successfully just launched like an XC40 to an end just because combustion engines will disappear. To look at new formats, new bodystyles and non-traditional elements, we founded Polestar to take care of that end of the scope.
'We developed that strategy: full electrification of the Volvo range, making it a natural part of the offer, and at the same time developing new, unconventional elements in the Polestar brand.'
Volvo has pledged to launch an electrified (hybrid) or all-electric version of every model in its line-up by 2019, and to refrain from releasing diesel variants of future models.
The Swedes are placing themselves very definitively on the right side of the automotive revolution.