The recent years under Chinese ownership have treated Volvo well. The Swedish carmaker announced it sold more than 500,000 cars globally in 2015, which is eight percent more than during the previous year. Still, Volvo’s sights are on electric vehicles. Current plans call manufacturing one million “electrified” cars by 2015 – a cumulative total, not a yearly sales figure.
Volvo says it will offer at least two hybrid versions of each model in its lineup, and the first fully electric vehicle should reach dealerships in 2019. Volvo’s CEO, Håkan Samuelsson says the bar has been set high on purpose. “It is going to be a challenge, but Volvo wants to be at the forefront of this shift to electrification.”
That shift may be in a fledgling state. Worldwide, the one millionth plug-in electric vehicle was sold by September 2015. Thirty-three percent of all the world’s plug-in electric vehicles have been sold in the United States. The take rate is definitely on the rise. Half of those million PEVs have been sold after July 2014.
Underlining this transition to electric power, Volvo has developed two new floorpans, a scalable one and a modular one. The Scalable Power Architecture and the Compact Modular Architecture can support either a hybrid or a fully electric powertrain. Out of these, the SPA underpins the larger, 90 and 60 series cars, and the CMA is designed for the smaller, 40-series cars that Volvo says will be launched soon. Currently, Volvo’s hybrid flagship powertrain is the T8 Twin Engine, which consists of a turbocharged and supercharged plug-in hybrid that produces nearly 400 horsepower.