Volvo XC90 to be released as EV only – plug-in hybrid plans have been scrapped

The third generation Volvo XC90 will be launched next year. It was supposed to be launched both as a plug-in hybrid and as a pure electric car. That will not be the case. PHEVs are a thing of the past for Volvo and their engineers are now focused on EVs.

Volvo XC90 to be released as EV only – plug-in hybrid plans have been scrapped

This article was translated from the original Swedish article, found here.


The 2023 XC90 will be a second-generation EV

As with the two previous generations, the new XC90 will first be the first car built on a new platform - SPA2 - with more model variants in the 90 and 60 series to follow. Volvo calls the new XC90 and its successors a second-generation electric car. The Polestar 3 will also be built on the SPA2 platform in the same factory in the US as the XC90.

Volvo's original intention was to produce the third generation of the XC90 both as a plug-in hybrid and as a battery electric car. Over time, Volvo has changed its views on electrification and now sees hybrids as a transition phase that they've moved past.

"The cars on the formerly known SPA2 architecture will be pure electric only, and instead of being '2' of 'SPA', they are now '1.0' of our future," writes Henrik Green, CTO Volvo Cars, in a post on LinkedIn.

The idea was to produce SPA2 with two different floor panels: one for EVs with room for a battery pack (a so-called "skateboard") and one with everything needed for an internal combustion engine with a transmission, differential(s) and an exhaust system. Instead the plans for latter variant have been scrapped.

The transition to electric cars has gone much faster than many in the industry had expected and the plug-in hybrids have never been a big hit in the important US market. There, buyers are making the switch directly from petrol to pure electric.

More efficient batteries and more self-driving

The second-generation electric cars get batteries with about 50 percent higher energy density than today's Recharge models XC40 and C40.

Volvo is also taking a step forward in terms of safety. The 2023 XC90 will get a lidar sensor, and kind of light radar, I take that gives a three-dimensional picture of the traffic. Lidar will be standard in all upcoming electric cars from Volvo and Polestar.

More advanced autonomous driving systems are also being developed. They are called, among others, Drive, Cruise, and Ride. Ride, which offers autonomous driving on highways, will be launched first.

To take care of all the data that is safe for safety and the more advanced assistance systems, the cars will have two control units from Nvidia. These will be made to accommodate upcoming updates and new software.

The SPA2 cars will be able to communicate via 5G and have V2X, "Vehicle-to-everything", which means that the car can be used as a temporary power reserve, for example during times of the day when the spot price is very high.

For smaller electric cars, Volvo will use the Geely platform SEA.

Volvo Concept Recharge

Volvo's third generation EV is beginning to take shape

Volvo was late in investing in electric cars and has lost time which now has to be made up for. The design of the SPA2 platform has been characterized by Volvo's previous hesitation towards pure electric cars and therefore Volvo is already in the process of planning a third generation of electric cars that can benefit from not being planned to accommodate an internal combustion engine.

In the mid-2020s, Volvo will launch its third generation of EV. It promises larger interiors thanks to a dedicated BEV platform and the scrapping of the current model designations. The cars will have names instead of alphanumerical codes, such as Jakob or Jessica.

- By simplifying the design and integration of our battery cells, we can reduce weight and maximize interior space. This in turn enables major improvements in terms of battery capacity, range and charging times, says Henrik Green, CTO Volvo Cars.

Volvo also says that the third generation will receive modern batteries (1000 Wh/kg energy density) from Northvolt and fast charging over 200 kW. The electric motors will be produced in-house by Volvo.

To avoid making the cars feel too big and clumsy, Volvo wants a relatively low roofline, which was demonstrated with Volvo Concept Recharge.

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