As we know, Volvo has publicly and pointedly committed to becoming an all-electric brand, as quickly as possible. To achieve its goal, the automaker is linking arms with that of a new partner, Swedish battery maker Northvolt.
That firm will help the carmaker develop and assemble more-durable batteries to be used in the next generation of Volvo and Polestar vehicles. Chief among the models expected to receive those batteries and ditch their combustion engine is the next-gen XC60, which will join the Volvo XC40 Recharge as the brand's first fully electric production models.
Volvo's ambitious plan calls for at least half of its production to be all-electric vehicles by the middle of the decade. By 2030, the company wants to sell only fully battery-electric vehicles. The next-generation XC60 will become an important player in this strategy; it will also be the first model equipped with batteries produced via the new deal with Northvolt.
Not much else is known at this time, but automotive media outlet CarAdvice reports that the new SUV is expected around 2024. It appears that the new model won't be offered with a combustion engine, but it's too early to confirm that, since we won't see it in showrooms for another three years. All indications are that the gas engine won’t be part of the product offering at all.
Volvo says the first step in the new partnership with Northvolt is the construction of a new research and development centre in Sweden, which will start operating in 2022. If all goes according to plan, the two companies will establish a new battery factory in Europe with a potential capacity of up to 50 gigawatt hours per year. Production of 100-percent clean energy at the new plant is expected to begin in 2026, creating approximately 3,000 new jobs.
“By working with Northvolt we will secure a supply of high-quality, more sustainable battery cells for our pure electric cars. Working closely with Northvolt will also allow us to strengthen our in-house development capabilities.”
- Hakan Samuelsson, Volvo CEO
Next week, on June 30, Volvo plans to unveil a technology and production roadmap that should further spell out the brand's plans for the coming years. We'll be back with more information on that.