During Volvo's recent earnings call, CEO Jim Rowan expressed his concern about moving too slowly into the all-electric future. Rowan emphasized that continuing to develop combustion engine vehicles could prove to be a costly mistake in the long run.
His statements are in strong contrast to Toyota's position (and that of other Japanese automakers), which has argued against committing solely to electric vehicles in favor of a more "well-rounded approach". Rowan highlights the growing importance of the electric vehicle market and the need for companies to make a quick strategic shift towards electrification if they want to see success.
Rowan cautioned that investing in both internal combustion engines and battery-electric vehicles could potentially result in missed opportunities. In contrast, he noted that Volvo made a bold move to invest in electrification ahead of the impending inflection point.
Volvo has already taken significant steps towards an all-electric future, with the company committing to putting one million electrified cars on the road by 2025, and phasing out combustion engines entirely by 2030.
Rowan's comments underscore the need for automakers to focus their resources on the growing electric vehicle market. With many countries around the world setting targets to phase out the production and sale of combustion engine vehicles, automakers that fail to prioritize electric vehicle development risk being left behind.
"The big problem with industry transitions is if you don't invest ahead of the curve, then you miss that inflection point, and you're not ready for when the market changes," he said. "We are investing ahead of the curve."
The biggest challenge for the company will be growing and maintaining the supply of crucial battery materials.
"That's pretty much the only thing that stands in the way of full-scale adoption. We are in discussions with mines and processing factories to get direct access to [lithium] at more predictable costs," he said, adding that technologies like lithium iron phosphate (LFP) will help lower the cost of EVs even further. As an example, Ford recently announced that they are adding LFP battery options this year.
The electric revolution is happening, and companies like Volvo that are fully committed to the shift are leading the way in the development of electric vehicles. By prioritizing EV development and phasing out combustion engines, Volvo is positioning itself for success in the future of the automotive industry.
More range, faster charging, and rear-wheel drive for fully electric Volvo C40 and XC40 models.
As a part of their new package of product updates, they have now improved the range and charging speeds for the XC40 and C40 vehicles compared to the outgoing model year, increasing range by as much as 37 miles (60 km) on some variants. Furthermore, three new powertrain options are going to be offered on both vehicles including two RWD options, the first time that Volvo has gone RWD in 25 years, and a revised AWD performance model.
Another first for the brand is the electric motors used for the C40 and XC40 models have now been developed in-house.
In a press release from the company, COO and deputy chief executive Javier Varela said, "These updates are another big step in our work towards becoming a fully electric car maker by 2030. Range and charging times are new key factors for more and more of our customers, and these improvements make our fully electric models even more attractive than they already were.”
The return of rear-wheel power
The single motor with standard range is driven by a 175 kW permanent magnet electric motor, which provides a 3% increase in power output over the outgoing 170 kW single-motor front-wheel drive variant.
In the XC40 Recharge single motor, the same 69 kWh battery capacity is carried over, but enhancements in cooling efficiency mean it can now deliver increased range and driving up to 240 miles according to the EPA test cycle.
The range of the C40 Recharge single motor meanwhile improves up to 245 miles (EPA). A 10-80 per cent charge takes approximately 34 minutes using a 130 kW DC public charger.
If you feel the need for more power and range, you can also opt for a larger battery coupled with a more powerful, 185 kW permanent magnet motor on the rear axle. This second new variant comes with an 82 kWh battery pack which boosts range up to 270 miles (EPA) for the XC40 Recharge single motor extended range and up to 275 miles (EPA) for the C40 Recharge single motor extended range.
Here too, charging power has improved as the larger battery pack allows for charging at an updated top rate of 200 kW DC (previously 150 kW DC maximum), while a 10-80 per cent charge takes approximately 28 minutes.
An updated all-wheel drive variant
The all-wheel drive variants also benefit from these updates, realising even more impressive range improvements. The previous set-up of two 150 kW motors on the front and rear axles has been replaced by our in-house developed 183 kW permanent magnet motor on the rear axle and a new 117 kW asynchronous electric motor on the front axle.
This new configuration, paired with an 82 kWh battery pack and overall efficiency improvements in battery cooling, means the XC40 Recharge Twin Motor AWD can now drive up to 310 miles (WLTP) on a single charge, a 38 mile boost over the previous iteration. The range of the C40 Recharge Twin Motor AWD has improved up to 315 miles (WLTP) from 280 miles (WLTP). No EPA estimates were released for this configuration.
Exterior updates also help to improve efficiency where possible. For example, a new 19-inch alloy wheel for both XC40 and C40 Recharge not only boosts the overall look of the models, but it also helps to reduce drag through its aerodynamic design.
Source: Volvo Cars