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Thinking Small: Volvo, Polestar Planning New Small Electric Crossovers

Volvo C40 Recharge
Photo: Volvo
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Derek Boshouwers
Expect an XC20 or C20 from the Swedish automaker, though maybe not under either of those names

New reports indicate that both Volvo and its Polestar offshoot are both planning to develop small electric crossovers in the coming years, which would be natural rivals to the Mercedes-Benz EQA, for example.

For Volvo, this is not news, entirely – the company was already believed to be considering a XC20 or C20 as a follow-up EV to the C40 Recharge coming to market next spring. At the launch of the C40, Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson as much as confirmed that the company was planning a model to sit below the 40 series.

But, this new model might not be called XC20 or C20 at all, but rather get an actual name. This speculation comes from the fact that Volvo’s first order of business before launching a small EV will be producing a follow-up to the XC90 SUV, rumoured to be getting the Embla name – which is taken from Norse mythology, and refers to the first woman created by the gods. It seems Volvo wants to go with a real name for the smaller EV as well.

Autocar reports that the new crossover will sit on Volvo parent company Geely’s new SEA modular EV platform, which includes an 800-volt system for ultra-fast charging. Logically, this also means the vehicle would be assembled in China, and in fact Geely has built a new plant in the Chinese city of Ningbo specifically dedicated to production of vehicles on its EV platform.

The question lurking behind all this is, will the new Volvo small EV make it to the North American market? In a recent interview with Car & Driver, Lex Kerssemakers, head of commercial operations at Volvo, declared that his company “only makes global cars”. Seems clear enough, though if you add ‘as a general rule’ in front of that, perhaps there’s still room to wonder. Small cars aren’t always a natural fit in America. We’ll see.

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Polestar 2
Polestar 2

As for Polestar, it is said to be working on a new SUV that should launch in 2023. It will sit in between the Polestar 2 and the Polestar 3 in terms of size and be conceived as a more-affordable option for consumers. Expect a sleek silhouette with the car sitting lower to the ground than the 3, but somehow still offering relatively ample interior space. Said Polestar boss Thomas Ingenlath, the new model would not “compromise much” in that area. Generally speaking, we could get a vehicle closely related to the C40 Recharge, with the same architecture underpinning both models.

Derek Boshouwers
Derek Boshouwers
Automotive expert
  • Over 5 years' experience as an automotive journalist
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