Volvo Readies Its First EV for October Debut

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Volvo, the brand TTAC commenters can’t get enough of (when they’re not talking Infiniti), will soon enter a fledgling segment no automaker seems capable of steering clear of: electric vehicles.

The new model, due for an October unveiling, won’t be an unfamiliar, futuristic blob that leaves viewers feeling cold and scared. Like many of its rivals, Volvo has opted to fully electrify an existing model. And what model has a longer-term viability than a compact crossover?

With its electric XC40, Volvo has a vehicle able to adopt a variety of propulsion sources. Its modular CMA platform, shared with parent company Geely, was designed with this in mind. It was also designed to handle the conversion with an extra measure of safety.

“To help keep passengers safe and the battery intact in the event of a collision, Volvo Cars also developed a new and unique safety structure for passengers and battery alike in the XC40,” the automaker said in a release. “The battery is protected by a safety cage which consists of a frame of extruded aluminum and has been embedded in the middle of the car’s body structure, creating a built-in crumple zone around the battery.”

The folks at Volvo Cars admitted they faced “a fresh set of challenges presented by the absence of an internal combustion engine.” In response, engineers redesigned and beefed up the vehicle’s frontal structure to compensate for the vanished ICE. The rear structure also saw upgrades. In a schematic released by the automaker, we see an underfloor battery pack that’s more than just a big rectangle, with two electric motors (placed front and rear) doling out propulsion to both axles.

“The fundamentals around safety are the same for this car as for any other Volvo. People are inside, and the car needs to be designed to be safe for them,” said Volvo Cars safety chief Malin Ekholm in a statement. Ekholm added that he expects the electric XC40 to be “one of the safest” Volvos ever built, which is a high bar to clear.

When it appears on October 16th, the XC40 EV will debut another new technology for the company: Volvo’s Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) sensor platform. The suite of driver-assist features provided by the combination of radars, cameras, and ultrasonic sensors is a starting point; Volvo claims it lays the groundwork for a fully autonomous driving system.

As for power and range, Volvo’s not concerned with releasing those details at the moment. Having pledged to bring passenger fatalities to zero, safety remains the brand’s top priority, though these attributes can’t be ignored. The company’s products do not exist in a vacuum. We’ll have to wait and see whether the XC40 EV can match or best the 258 miles of range offered by the Hyundai Kona Electric.

[Images: Volvo]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Sep 25, 2019

    "Volvo, the brand TTAC commenters can’t get enough of" Where did you get that from? In reality TTAC commentators and dogs do not care about Volvo one way or another. Instead gentlemen prefer blondes and and dogs refer Subaru.

    • Garrett Garrett on Sep 25, 2019

      I care a lot more about Volvo than: Lexus Infiniti Acura Toyota Subaru Kia Hyundai GM Ford Amongst others...

  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Sep 26, 2019

    Nice work, Volvo.

  • 3-On-The-Tree I don’t think Toyotas going down.
  • ToolGuy Random thoughts (bulleted list because it should work on this page):• Carlos Tavares is a very smart individual.• I get the sense that the western hemisphere portion of Stellantis was even more messed up than he originally believed (I have no data), which is why the plan (old plan, original plan) has taken longer than expected (longer than I expected).• All the OEMs who have taken a serious look at what is happening with EVs in China have had to take a step back and reassess (oversimplification: they were thinking mostly business-as-usual with some tweaks here and there, and now realize they have bigger issues, much bigger, really big).• You (dear TTAC reader) aren't ready to hear this yet, but the EV thing is a tsunami (the thing has already done the thing, just hasn't reached you yet). I hesitate to even tell you, but it is the truth.
  • ToolGuy ¶ I have kicked around doing an engine rebuild at some point (I never have on an automobile); right now my interest level in that is pretty low, say 2/5.¶ It could be interesting to do an engine swap at some point (also haven't done that), call that 2/5 as well.¶ Building a kit car would be interesting but a big commitment, let's say 1/5 realistically.¶ Frame-up restoration, very little interest, 1/5.¶ I have repainted a vehicle (down to bare metal) and that was interesting/engaging (didn't have the right facilities, but made it work, sort of lol).¶ Taking a vehicle which I like where the ICE has given out and converting it to EV sounds engaging and appealing. Would not do it anytime soon, maybe 3 to 5 years out. Current interest level 4/5.¶ Building my own car (from scratch) would have some significant hurdles. Unless I started my own car company, which might involve other hurdles. 😉
  • Rover Sig "Value" is what people perceive as its worth. What is the worth or value of an EV somebody creates out of a used car? People value different things, but for a vehicle, people generally ascribe worth in terms of reliability, maintainability, safety, appearance and style, utility (payload, range, etc.), convenience, operating cost, projected life, support network, etc. "Value for money" means how much worth would people think it had compared to competing vehicles on the market, in other words, would it be a good deal to buy one, compared to other vehicles one could get? Consider what price you would have to ask for it, including the parts and labor you put into it, because that would affect the “for the money” part of the “value for money” calculation. An indicator of whether people think an EV-built-in-a-used-car would provide "value for money" is the current level of demand for used cars turned into EVs. Are there a lot of people looking for these on the market? Or would building one just be a hobby? Repairing an existing EV, bringing it back into spec, might create better value for the money. Although demand for EVs is reportedly down recently.
  • ToolGuy Those of you who aren't listening to the TTAC Podcast, you really don't know what you are missing.
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