Volvo will unveil a fully electric version of its XC40 small SUV next month and has promised that its first EV will be “one of the safest cars we've ever built”.
The Swedish firm is aiming for more than 50% of its sales volume to be fully electric by 2025. It's focused on producing electric versions of its existing models, rather than developing bespoke EVs like rivals such as Volkswagen.
The XC40 is one of Volvo's most popular models, and it will launch the electric version on 16 October. While few technical details of the model have been given, it will follow the EV trend, with motors mounted at the front and rear and the battery located under the floor.
Volvo has, however, said that it aims to maintain its established reputation for safety with the new model, with safety boss Malin Ekholm saying: “Regardless of what drives a car forward, be it an electric machine or combustion engine, a Volvo must be safe.”
The front structure of the XC40, which is built on Volvo's Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) platform, has been redesigned to account for the absence of an engine. Volvo has also developed a “unique” new safety structure: a safety cage around the battery made from aluminium and embedded in the body structure. Volvo says this creates a built-in crumple zone around the battery and lowers the car’s centre of gravity.
The car has also been reinforced at the rear through the integration of the electric powertrain into the body structure, with the intent to shift any forces caused in a collision away from the passenger area.
The electric XC40 will also be the first model fitted with Volvo's new Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) sensor platform, which is designed for expanded autonomous capabilites in the future.
While no details have been given about the electric powertrain, it's likely to be similar to that used by sister brand Polestar's 2, which was revealed earlier this year and is also built on the CMA platform. That car uses a 27-module, 78kWh battery pack.
The powertrain in the performance-focused Polestar 2 is claimed to produce 402bhp and 487lb ft, with a ‘target’ range of 311 miles on the WLTP cycle. The electric XC40 is unlikely to offer similar power or torque, due to the differing goals and target markets of Volvo and Polestar.
The electric XC40 will be the second electrified version of the model, joining the XC40 T5 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid.