Volvo’s decision to ditch diesel began with the new S60 saloon in June as the Swedish brand begins its transition from internal combustion engines to hybrid and electric vehicles. By 2025 Volvo predicts 50 per cent of models sold will be fully electric.
Speaking to Auto Express at the unveil of the new S60 compact executive at the new Volvo plant in Charleston, South Carolina, Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson told us: “We have to prioritise – we cannot do everything. So if we want to be faster in electrification we can’t say yes to everything. That’s why [the S60] has no diesel alternative and we are not planning to have a diesel alternative in any new cars. The XC90 will follow this.”
Asked if the third-generation SUV will have the range of today’s diesel models, Samuelsson added: “It has to have that – maybe not as long as a diesel, but the combination of properties has to be attractive so that car will be all-electric or hybrid.”
Volvo is taking a different path on electrification, developing new platforms to cope with full electrification as well as a combination of internal combustion engines and hybridisation – rival manufacturers have a two-platform strategy: one for electric vehicles and one for hybrids.
Volvo’s senior vice president in charge of R&D, Henrik Green, confirmed that the new XC90 will sit on a new version of the brand’s Scalable Product Architecture, called SPA2, which has been developed for full electrification as well as petrol hybrid power.
Following a facelift of the current car next year, the all-new XC90 is expected to make its debut in 2021, and go on sale the year after. Expect an evolutionary approach to the styling; the fully electric model should feature unique design touches such as the blanked-off grille as previewed by our exclusive image.
Green also confirmed that Volvo had been looking at fuel cell tech, but that a hydrogen-powered model was unlikely. “We’re entertaining fuel cells on a research level and concepts, but it’s not part of the main planning,” he told us.
Read our in-depth review of the current Volvo XC90 SUV right here…