Volvo Cars is preparing for an electric blitz to convert all its mainstay models – two sedans and three SUVs – into electric vehicles and to launch a luxury electric van aimed at ramping up sales in Asia, two people familiar with the plans said.
The Swedish automaker, 82%-owned by China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, is expected to unveil at least six new battery electric vehicles through 2026, the two people told Reuters. Volvo has disclosed a plan to make its whole lineup fully electric by 2030. The firm’s Australia unit has said it wants to sell only EVs in that market by 2026.
Notably, the previously undisclosed product plans amount to the biggest revamp of Volvo’s model line-up since Geely purchased the brand from Ford Motor Co (F.N) in 2010. Under Geely, Volvo initially began to share technologies such as car platforms with Geely.
The revamp for Volvo, a Swedish brand that established a reputation for safety and utilitarian design, follows from an increased focus on customer trends in Asia and a push to gain sales there, the people said.
These two people familiar with Volvo’s planning requested not to be named because details have not been made public by the company. Geely would not comment. Among the new battery electric vehicles being built for the next four years is a Volvo-branded MPV or van that would be based on a vehicle Geely’s Zeekr brand sells in China.
Dubbed the Zeekr 009, the hulking, battery-electric van, whose asking price is about 500,000 yuan ($74,179), provides three rows of seating.
The vehicle competes against the likes of the Toyota (7203.T) Alphard, a family or business van, with airplane business class-like seats for passengers that has proven to be well-liked in Asian markets such as Japan and China as a limousine alternative.
Volvo has shifted development work on sedans and the upcoming people-mover model to its Shanghai research and development hub, they said. That centre, which has tripled its design workers to around 60 people, has recently been relocated to a new and bigger building in Shanghai, one of the sources said.
The first of Volvo’s new planned electric models, the EX90 sport-utility crossover, was launched in late 2022. It is expected to reach showrooms early next year.
Other battery electric cars coming include electric versions of Volvo’s mainline products – the S90 and S60 sedans and the XC90, XC60, and XC40 crossover vehicles, the sources said.Buy Crypto Now
Those mainline cars will match Volvo’s established, simple design cues, but the new MPV will target customers in China and other markets with a more “emotional” design that builds from the Zeekr 009, which features a huge, LED-illuminated grille, one of the sources said.
Volvo has carved out and divested its gasoline engine and hybrid powertrain operations to Geely.
The Chinese automaker has proceeded to combine all of its gasoline powertrain assets, including those from Volvo, with factories being carved out of Renault (RENA.PA) to set up a new company focused on gasoline and hybrid engines.
Renault and Geely are working towards closing a deal to bring Saudi Aramco (2222.SE) in as an investor and partner in that venture, Reuters has reported.
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