Update: ‘Volvo Cars to continue making sedans & estates’ section added.
A bigger brother to the Volvo C40?
Volvo Cars officials have sent strong signals through the media that more high-riding coupes could be heading to the market. Speaking to Australian media in early June 2021, Robin Page, Senior Vice President Design, Volvo Cars, said that accomodating the C40 Recharge’s key attributes – the versatility (of an SUV) and high-seating point, “is going to be important” in the company’s future products. That is something Volvo customers “really want,” the design chief said.
There is the need I think for customers to have this lower car than the SUV but something that gives you a big versatile space in the backRobin Page, Senior Vice President Design, Volvo Cars (via caradvice.com.au)
During Volvo Car Group’s H1 2021 results conference call in July 2021, President and CEO Hakan Samuelsson suggested that the next-gen Volvo EVs feature an unconventional body style that gives them better aerodynamic efficiency. He said:
There will be more cars to follow, and I think also we should start thinking maybe new body shapes. I mean it’s not just sedans, wagons, and SUVs. Electrification will also change the shape of the cars. I think they need to be more aerodynamic. So, I think maybe we’ll surprise people a bit there in the future. It’s not just conventional cars as we’ve had so far.Hakan Samuelsson, President and CEO, Volvo Car Group
Volvo electric mid-size SUV naming
Last year, AutoExpress asked Samuelsson if the Volvo C40 Recharge points to a new nomenclature for future Volvo crossover coupes (derived from SUVs or sedans), he said:
I don’t know if we will call them C versions, but cars that are more streamlined but still high is something I could expect. Being streamlined will be more important when we go electric, but on the other hand, people really are fond of the high seating position. Let’s see, but it will not be square; there will be softer rooflines.Hakan Samuelsson, CEO, Volvo Cars
Samuelsson then revealed that future Volvo EVs will get a different nomenclature and suggested that they won’t be alphanumeric. So, the Swedish Tesla Model Y rival is unlikely to wear a C60 badge.
Now we’re talking about a totally new architecture, a new generation of born electric, all-electric cars with central compute, and I think it’s good and clear to mark that also this is a new beginning. And that’s why we’re not going to have sort of numbers and letters and say ancient-year type of.. We will give them a more name. And I said we will give them a name as you’re giving your born child a name. And we have a very interesting and creative discussion going on.Hakan Samuelsson, CEO, Volvo Cars (Volvo Car Group H1 2021 results conference call)
What to expect from the Volvo C60
Volvo launched a high-riding variant of the S60 when the midsize sedan was in its second generation. That variant was the S60 Cross Country and part of the S60 family. In the fourth generation, the high-riding variant of S60 might be a separate model – similar to a Volvo C60 Recharge, one that is closer to the XC60. The difference between the two 60 Series vehicles would be greater than in the second generation, with more crossover traits and a streamlined appearance aided by a soft roofline.
The new midsize Volvo EV would have a new vehicle software platform that combines all the operating systems across the vehicle and the cloud under an umbrella. For instance, Google’s Android Automotive OS powering the digital instrument cluster and the central screen would be a part of VolvoCars.OS.
As depicted in the official illustration, it will be possible to get a comprehensive view of the navigation map on the digital instrument cluster of the EV. The inclusion of a head-up display will make driving distraction-free. Customers will use their phone as a key to unlock their EV and connect their smart home devices to their EV.
The Volvo C60 Recharge may not arrive before mid-decade. The traditionally long lifecycle of the Volvo S60 and XC60 suggests that the current-gen model has several years of service. When it is time for the next generation, it might make sense to offer it as only an EV. Volvo will build its next-gen 60 Series models on a new skateboard architecture that will debut this year.
The new Volvo midsize electric SUV’s battery would come from a new battery gigafactory. Volvo Car Group is yet to finalize the location of this facility, and it may come up with a decision in the coming months.
Volvo Cars to continue making sedans & estates
Speaking to Autocar UK last year, Samuelsson had said that Volvo Cars will expand its SUV portfolio and reduce the number of sedans and wagons. The company will continue having a presence in a few traditional segments that still hold good potential for high-volume sales.
The existing model lines that include sedans and wagons, which are the S and V series, will get successors, Samuelsson confirmed to Autocar this year. However, he indicated that the replacements would be curvier and sleeker for enhanced aerodynamics. He said that the company needs conventionally-sized lower cars, “but maybe a little less square.” We don’t see every S and V series model having a successor, though.
The future Volvo sedan and estate EVs will have new names, in line with the nomenclature that the Swedish automaker plans to adopt with its Tesla Model X rival this year – the Volvo EX90.
Featured image: Volvo Cars