The next three years will be big for Volvo as the Swedish automaker prepares to roll out its XC40 compact crossover this year, followed by a plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) model in 2018 and fully-electric and mild hybrid models in 2019.
News of the XC40 comes from the UK's Autocar magazine, who spoke to Volvo R&D chief Henrik Green at the Detroit auto show. He said the XC40 will be the first Volvo model to use the brand's CMA (compact modular architecture) platform, which will also eventually underpin all-new versions of its existing (in Europe) compact S40 and V40 car models.
Unsurprisingly, though, the XC40 comes first, and we think Green is right when he suggests it could be one of "the most successful cars" in the Volvo lineup, especially in crossover-crazed North America.
Volvo will also this year see the introduction of a second-generation XC60 mid-size crossover.
The Autocar article also hints at Volvo's future plans for electrification, a topic delved into more deeply by Green Car Congress, who attended a presentation by Volvo's senior director of electric propulsion systems, Mats Anderson, at the SAE 2017 Hybrid and Electric Vehicles Symposium in San Diego, California.
There, Anderson said Volvo's 2018 plan will see the company introduce a FWD, three-cylinder engine-based Twin Engine hybrid drivetrain derived from the AWD, four-cylinder version used in the XC90 large crossover. With its 9.7 kWh battery, electric A/C compressor and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, it will promise and all-electric range of about 50 km, according to Anderson.
And in 2019 Volvo will pull the wraps off two more electric-based drivetrains: one will be a 48-volt mild-hybrid setup that will be paired with both gasoline and diesel engines; the other will be an all-electric drivetrain that could see use in vehicles riding on the compact CMA platform, and the larger SPA platform that underpins the XC90, S90 and V90. Volvo hasn't decided what vehicles will get all-electric variants, but the company is apparently planning to do both FWD and AWD versions.
What's more certain is Volvo's electric system will be modular, allowing for power outputs ranging from 100 to 450 kW, fed by battery packs up to 100 kWh in size. For reference, super-quick 100D versions of Tesla's Model S use a 100 kWh battery pack.