Volvo XC100 to get in-house designed motors, LiDAR technology [Update]

Volvo Cars plans to become a fully electric car company by the year 2030. By then, Volvo intends to discontinue even hybrids from the global portfolio. The journey to remodel into a fully electric car manufacturer is part of Volvo’s corporate climate plan, which looks to bring down the life cycle carbon footprint per car through concrete actions.

Volvo says that pure electric models would be available only online. This would also apply to the incoming Volvo XC100 (codename: Volvo V616). The company has released a teaser where it shows a large SUV (overhead view) as a part of its mid-decade electric portfolio.

Updated upcoming Volvo electric cars
Volvo teases its mid-decade electric vehicle portfolio. The model on the bottom right corner is expected as the Volvo XC100, build on a skateboard chassis. Image from Volvo Cars Media site.

Platform & development

Late last year, Volvo announced major investments to develop electric motors for next-gen Volvo electric cars. It is safe to assume that the Swedish-origin automaker would pick in-house design electric motors for the Volvo XC100.

In-house design of next-gen Volvo EVs’ motors would not mean 100% Swedish development, though. In October 2020, Volvo opened a new electric motor lab in Shanghai, and vehicle development would be tasked to centers in Gothenburg, Sweden, and Shanghai, China. It is worth noting that the company has battery development centers in both countries. The Shanghai electric motor lab will focus on pure electric vehicle and hybrid electric vehicle motors coming off the SPA2 platform.

SPA2 platform with different floor assembly for electric variants

According to a report from Teknikens Varld, the Volvo XC100 will be based on the SPA2 platform assumed as an evolution of the SPA that debuted in the Mk2 Volvo XC90 in 2014, ready for intensive electrification.

The Range Rover, Mercedes GLS, and BMW X7 are the full-size European luxury SUVs that customers get to choose from, but a formidable rival to the trio is on the way. Volvo Cars is planning the foray into the F-segment with the XC100, the largest and most opulent car it will have ever made. In a segment long-dominated by JLR and Daimler, BMW Group had its first taste with the BMW X7 in 2018. Now, the Swedes are at it, and they’ll take a radical approach launching their challenger with an all-electric powertrain option.

While many companies are investing billions into exclusive platforms for their most advanced BEVs, Volvo Cars is developing SPA2 to support internal combustion engines. SPA2 will spawn three kinds of electrified vehicles – mild-hybrid electric vehicles (MHEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs).

Volvo Cars is developing the SPA2 platform with a new approach to make it suitable for complete electrification. The company is building two floor assemblies, one designed like a skateboard chassis for EVs and the other designed entirely differently to accommodate the typical components of an internal combustion engine vehicle. Henrik Green, Chief Technology Officer, Volvo Cars, talked about this platform solution to Green Car Reports in March. He said:

One floor is built around the flat battery with an e-machine in front and rear, very much the skateboard approach that you see pure electric vehicles are built on today. And there is another floor which is completely different, built with a combustion engine in the front, the prop shaft, an exhaust system, a fuel tank in the rear.

Henrik Green, Chief Technology Officer, Volvo Cars

Volvo XC100 – Expected Design & Specifications

Volvo Cars has designed the Volvo XC100 electric SUV and shown it to dealers privately, Automotive News said in a report in March 2020. Dealers described it as an “absolute home run” and also “an XC90, Range Rover, Cullinan all in one”. It will have a body that is 7 inches longer, and nearly 5 inches wider than the XC90, featuring 6-seat and 7-seat cabin layouts. For reference, the Mk2 Volvo XC90 measures 4,953 mm (195 in) in length, 2,008 mm (75 in) in width, and 1,776 mm (70 in) in height.

Volvo Cars can build vehicles measuring up to 5.5 meters or 217 inches in length on the SPA2 platform, as per a report from autoexpress.co.uk.

Volvo SPA platform
The Volvo XC100 will ride on a new SPA2 platform, presumably an advanced version of the SPA (pictured) ready for deep electrification. Image: SPA platform, courtesy Volvo Cars

The Automotive News report had indicated that the Volvo XC100 would have a pure-electric powertrain as an option. The regular Volvo XC100 may arrive in 2023 and see manufacturing in Charleston (South Carolina), USA, as per this report. The Volvo XC100 electric should follow by 2025.

The powertrain specifications of the Volvo XC100 electric are a complete mystery. However, a few years into the launch, solid-state batteries are likely to be available, making electric cars practical than ever before. However, as research in this field is ongoing, there are good chances that initially, Lithium-ion battery pack options with a high energy density would be presented to customers. 90-100 kWh battery pack choices are a given then, and the most efficient configuration may offer a range of over 500 miles (805 km).

Unsupervised autonomous driving

Last year, it emerged that the Volvo XC100 would feature LiDar technology for fully autonomous driving. Volvo Cars has partnered with Florida-based Luminar and the company has confirmed that it will offer its SPA2 platform models as hardware-ready for autonomous drive from 2022. SPA2 platform models will have OTA update and Highway Pilot capabilities, with the latter enabling fully autonomous highway driving. Volvo Cars is considering offering a LiDAR sensor in all SPA2 platform-based cars as standard.

The Volvo XC100 could be one of the brand’s most advanced models it the aspect of driver assistance systems. The model should be hardware-ready for autonomous drive right from the commencement of production. It should offer Highway Pilot, the company’s trademarked unsupervised autonomous driving feature, in select regions where the legal system and road infrastructure permits.

Highway Pilot could run on an NVIDIA DRIVE Orin-powered autonomous drive computer. NVIDIA DRIVE Orin is a system-on-a-chip (SoC) solution that is capable of 254 tera (or 254 trillion) operations per second. The next-gen XC90 will debut this SoC at Volvo Cars when it debuts in 2022.

Price

The Volvo XC100 electric or Volvo XC100 Recharge would compete with the electric Hummer EV SUV, the Lucid Gravity, and Cadillac Escalade EV. Volvo Cars could price its flagship from around $90,000. The XC100 could be the final model of the first batch of electric cars the company plans to launch by the middle of the decade, the time when it aims to convert half its global sales to EVs.

Volvo XC100 FAQs

What is the Volvo XC100 release date?

We expect to see the Volvo XC100 electric vehicle mid-decade, around 2025.

What will be the Volvo XC100 price?

The Volvo XC100 in its electric variant could be priced from around $90,000.

Featured Image from Volvo Cars Media site