Volvo Cars is developing an electric SUV smaller than the 40 Series EVs, given the working title Volvo XC20 by the web media. A report from evlook.com suggests that internally and in the supply chain, the upcoming EV goes by the codename Volvo V216. Now let’s take a look at what we know about the XC20.
Will not wear a Volvo XC20/XC30 badge
Volvo Cars is done with alphanumeric names for electric vehicles. The company is switching to a new nomenclature with its Tesla Model X rival due in 2022, possibly called Volvo Embla. The small electric SUV positioned below the XC40 Recharge could have an alphabetical name. We have used the rumored ‘XC20’ name in the story for the sake of simplicity, and for the lack of a better term. Hakan Samuelsson, CEO, Volvo Cars, briefly talked about the new naming system in July 2021:
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 on July 23, 2021)
It’s not a legal issue for Volvo to use the XC20, as the company applied for that trademark two decades ago and is still its holder in several countries including the U.S., Australia, Switzerland, and in fact, the European Union. The company also has the XC10 trademark under its belt. As the Swedes are straying from the alphanumeric tradition for the new family of electric cars, it is a strong possibility that it may never return to the XC branding for EVs.
Design & Interior
Digital artist Nicolas Fourny’s rendering of a new entry-level Volvo SUV (featured image) is quite interesting, as it also previews a model smaller than the XC40. However, there aren’t enough takers for a two-door SUV. Just ask the convertible and coupe variants of the Range Rover Evoque, which were pulled off the market after a brief period! One can safely expect the Volvo V216 with proper rear doors and access to the boot via a conventional tailgate.
Samuelsson talked about the design of the upcoming small SUV on the sidelines of the Volvo C40 launch in March 2021, helping form a mental picture. The company feels the need for more electric SUVs and has them in its development pipeline, he added. The so-called Volvo XC20 would be “more streamlined” but still be “high”, because “people really are fond of high seating positions,” Volvo’s chief explained. It wouldn’t be as squarish as current Volvo SUVs and have a softer roofline instead, aiding the aerodynamics that would improve the range. Volvo Cars could “surprise” with unconventionally designed EV models in the future, Samuelsson suggested at the Volvo Car Group half-year 2021 financial results presentation. He said:
Electrification will also change the shape of the cars; they need to be more aerodynamic, so maybe we will surprise people a bit there in the future. It’s not just the conventional cars as we have had so far.Hakan Samuelsson, President and CEO, Volvo Car Group (Volvo Car Group half-year financial results, 2021)
As for the interior, expect Scandinavian vibes with a deep focus on functionality, uncluttering, and minimalism. Volvo Cars may extensively use recycled, sustainably sourced materials and maybe avoid using leather in the cabin. Another key feature we expect is a digital instrument cluster with customizable layouts, most likely measuring 12.3 inches diagonally. An Android Automotive OS-based touchscreen infotainment system is a given, and it should pack all the essential Google apps and services, including Play Store, Google Maps, and Google Voice.
Volvo XC20 to ride on Geely’s Sustainable Experience Architecture
The Volvo electric SUV smaller than the XC40 Recharge was first reported by autoexpress.co.uk last year. At the 2020 Beijing Auto Show, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group unveiled the Lynk & Co Zero Concept. The electric SUV concept is underpinned by a new platform called ‘Sustainable Experience Architecture’. The Chinese conglomerate owns the Volvo Car Group which controls the Volvo and Polestar brands.
During the discussion with Auto Express, Samuelsson revealed that the Volvo SUV smaller than the XC40 could be an all-electric model and off-road capability might not be a focal point. Samuelsson spoke to the British auto publication about leveraging the parent company’s new architecture. “We’ll also use SEA,” Samuelsson said. Explaining why Volvo Car Group is looking at SEA instead of CMA for the potential Volvo XC20, Samuelsson said it’s difficult to manufacture a smaller product, which would need to be cheaper, without the necessary cost and scale.
The Lynk & Co Zero Concept became Zeekr 001 when it evolved into road-ready form this year. The production model gives a fair idea of what the SEA platform can deliver commercially already. EVs based on the new dedicated EV platform can achieve a range of up to 712 km (NEDC) with a large, 100 kWh battery pack and accelerate from 0-62 mph in just 3.8 seconds with two high-performance motors. Like Volkswagen Group’s J1 platform, the SEA platform enables a system voltage of 800 volts, double that of most EV platforms. It offers 120 kilometers (74.5 mi) of range in less than 5 minutes of charging.
Where the CMA’s development took place in Sweden, the SEA was developed in China for the local market where volumes are high. Thus, there are significant savings involved in the new platform, with the Volvo Car Group boss saying Chinese suppliers allow “a very good cost structure”.
Battery & Range expectations in the Volvo XC20
Low and mid versions of the Volvo city hopper may not travel more than 241 km (150 miles) on a full charge in real-world conditions as it would be an urban type of vehicle, much like the Honda e or the Mini Cooper SE. The smaller battery would also bring down the car’s price, as it is the single most expensive component in an EV, to take it well under the XC40’s starting price of about 60,000 Euros (Germany). Volvo Cars could consider a 40-45 kWh battery pack for the XC20 to match the expectations of the urban customer. Like with competitors, Volvo Cars could offer a long-range version (about 200 miles).
According to the evlook.com report mentioned in the introduction, the upcoming entry-level Volvo EV will sit on a ‘PMA-2’ platform. PMA is another name for the SEA platform, used by Volvo and Polestar. Volvo will bring its entry-level EV to the market as a single-motor FWD model, according to evlook.com and carmagazine.co.uk.
Volvo XC20 release date & retail
The Volvo XC20 will arrive after the upcoming large electric SUV, the production version of the Volvo Recharge Concept that debuted in June 2021. During the Volvo Car Group half-year 2021 financial results presentation, Samulesson indicated that 2023 could be the year when it reaches showrooms. Moreover, he almost confirmed that the manufacturing of the small Volvo EV would take place in China. The evlook.com report also indicates that tenders for the equipment needed to manufacture the Volvo V216 were floating in the Chinese market.
Regarding timing, we’ve said the next new electric car is really the successor of our SUV flagship. That’s the first one; after that, there will be a smaller SUV, and that’s what we’re talking about here. It’s very likely it will be made in China, yes.Hakan Samuelsson, President and CEO, Volvo Car Group (Volvo Car Group half-year financial results, 2021)
Competitors & strategy
The new small SUV may arrive as an online-only model, like the C40 Recharge. Customers would get to view the vehicle in person at a dealership and take a test drive, but the order process may take place exclusively online. This process should apply to even the ‘Care by Volvo’ subscriptions.
The list of competitors would include the dedicated MINI crossover, the Smart electric SUV, and higher variants of the $25,000 Tesla EV (what we call the Tesla Model 2). If it goes as planned, Volvo’s electric vehicles will account for 50% of global sales from no later than 2025, for the Swedish brand. By 2030, that number would change to 100% as the company will stop selling thermal-engined vehicles at the end of the decade.
Volvo XC20 FAQs
What is the Volvo XC20 release date?
The Volvo XC20 could debut in the second half of 2023 as a streamlined city crossover. Note that it could carry an entirely different name.
What would be the Volvo XC20 rivals?
What is the expected range and specs of the XC20?
SEA platform allows 120 km (74.5 mi) range in under 5 min of charging. The real-world range of the base XC20 could be around 241 km (150 miles).
Featured Image Source: ‘Volvo SC20’ by Nicolas Fourny