The Swedish-Chinese automaker’s first EV is expected to be an all-electric version of its new XC40 compact CUV. Christie Schweinsberg reports.
Volvo Cars plans to introduce its first fully electrified vehicle at the end of next year and the automaker’s CEO vows that, even at a relatively inexpensive price point, it will be a money-maker. “From day one (it will be profitable). I think we will have no intention or ambition to sell electric cars with losses,” Håkan Samuelsson tells media during an interview here at the automaker’s new US vehicle-assembly plant.
The Swedish-Chinese automaker’s first EV is expected to be an all-electric version of its new XC40 compact CUV. While the XC40 electric has been reported to be coming as low as $35,000-$40,000, Samuelsson implies it may be closer to $50,000. When asked if Volvo can profitably sell an EV “in the $50,000 range,” the CEO says yes. “We are planning that should be a profitable car.” Volvo’s next-generation XC90 CUV, to be built for US buyers at this plant in 2021, also will offer a full electric variant, as well as Level 4 autonomous technology, Samuelsson says.
He notes Volvo’s electrification strategy is to offer autonomous technology, expected to be pricey and thus off-putting to many vehicle buyers, on its highest grades in a given model’s line-up. An example is Volvo’s new collaboration with Polestar, Polestar Engineered, which will offer partial electrification in the form of gasoline-electric plug-in-hybrid vehicles. The highest trim level of Volvo’s new S60 sedan will be a Polestar Engineered variant. Its cost hasn’t been divulged, but the vehicle should be north of the $55,400 starting price for the highest non-Polestar Engineered grade of the ’19 S60, the plug-in hybrid T8 Inscription.
Samuelsson says the automaker will be able to profitably sell EVs because it can share development costs with Polestar. “So, we can carry back the technology into Volvo and also into lower price brackets. That’s the whole idea,” he says. Samuelsson acknowledges that while Volvo’s fully electrified models will cost more to develop than internal-combustion-engine models, those costs will go down.
By 2025, the year when Volvo has announced it wants half of its global sales to be fully electric models, battery-electric vehicles should reach price parity with ICE vehicles, says a 2017 forecast from UBS. This article first appeared in WardsAuto.