Swedish premium carmaker, Volvo Cars, one of the earliest proponents of electric mobility in the game, on Thursday unveiled the XC40 Recharge, its first fully electric car based on its compact SUV XC40.
This is the first of a family of fully electric cars from Volvo which would be sold under the Recharge sub-brand. The company said it would launch at least one fully electric car every year over the next 5 years as it seeks to make fully electric cars contribute 50 per cent of its global sales by 2025. The rest will all be hybrids. This is the most aggressive changeover from fossil fuel-powered internal combustion engine to a hybrid or electric powertrain by any global carmaker to date. As far back as 2017, Volvo has said it planned to stop making combustion engines by 2019 and move completely into alternate powertrain options, a promise it has kept.
"We have said this several times before: for Volvo Cars, the future is electric," said Hakan Samuelsson, chief executive, Volvo Car Group. "Today we take a major new step in that direction with the launch of our fully electric XC40 and the Recharge car line."
The company did not divulge either the expected price or the markets where the car would be launched first but it is safe to assume its home country Sweden along with other Nordic countries Finland and Norway, world's biggest electric vehicle market China and the US could be the first ones to get the car. Beginning early next year, Volvo would also ask each of its customers visiting its website whether they would want to own a fully electric Volvo Recharge car. To encourage the adoption of electric cars, it would also free electricity for a year with every Volvo Recharge plug-in hybrid model provided through a refund for the average electricity cost during the period.
In 2018, Volvo's global sales had grown 12.4 per cent at 6,42,253 units and while it had one of the biggest line up of hybrid cars in its portfolio, they made up a shade over 10 per cent of the overall sales. Samuelsson had however said that was largely due to lack of batteries, motors and other components that throttled Volvo's production capacity as it underestimated the demand for its hybrid cars.
"We are not happy because we could sell more, he said. We underestimated the demand," Samuelsson had said in March this year. "We are tripling the capacity from what we had about a year ago to where we will be at the end of this year."
The XC40 Recharge offers a range of over 400 km on a single charge and output of 408hp. The battery charges to 80% of its capacity in 40 minutes on a fast-charger system. For next year Volvo Cars are aiming for plug-in hybrid cars to make up 20 per cent of its total sales. Already Volvo offers a plug-in variant on every model in its line-up. Volvo has also committed to becoming a climate-neutral company by 2040.