Update: ‘More space, more power’ section added.
As Volvo plans to become a fully electric car company by 2030, a new report states that a Volvo XC70 equivalent EV is under development for a planned launch sometime in late-2024 or 2025.
Volvo XC70 EV Equivalent Details
According to a report on Automotive News, the project is codenamed Volvo V546, and the size of the electric SUV is between the XC60 and XC90 models. It is to be noted that right now, we are referring to this model as the ‘Volvo XC70 EV equivalent’ as its working title. However, Volvo no longer plans to name new products with numbers or even use the ‘XC’ nameplate. Hakan Samuelsson, CEO of Volvo Cars, said in July 2021 that the brand would start calling its cars with proper names instead of alphanumerics.
Volvo XC70 EV Equivalent Platform & Manufacturing
The Swedes have two platform choices for the Volvo V546: the SPA 2, a ‘skateboard’ optimized for a roomy cabin, or parent Geely’s SEA 1 architecture, which Volvo says they will use for some products (especially for entry-level EVs like the XC20). The former is a stronger possibility as the American plant, that will manufacture this SUV, is being tooled to produce SPA 2 products starting this year (Polestar 3 and Volvo Embla).
Will it benefit from ‘Mega casting’?
More interesting is that the Volvo XC70 EV could be the next Volvo to adopt a new manufacturing process using ‘mega casting.’ This essentially means that major components of the car can be produced as a single aluminum part instead of hundreds of smaller pieces, which makes the manufacturing process more efficient and ultimately would result in cost savings.
In an interview, Mikael Fermér, Volvo’s vehicle platform architect, told Autocar.co.uk that it would help designers better use space inside the cabin and allow them to ‘tightly’ sculpt the vehicle. This can potentially lower the seating by up to 15 mm, which can lower the roofline and improve the aerodynamics of the EV, ultimately increasing the range of the Volvo electric car.
Fermér mentions that this type of manufacturing can lead to design flexibility for the brand allowing for an optimized design for every body style using the process. It should be noted that Tesla uses mega-casting as a process for the Model Y already. It is also environmentally sustainable as there will be 100 percent material utilization, and parts that are cut out will be put back into a furnace to be used again.
Fermér said that the first vehicle to benefit from this manufacturing technique had not been presented externally yet (not revealed as a concept yet) but confirmed a 2025 debut.
Volvo, for now, has announced mega-casting only for the Torslanda plant, which is its largest one. The firm will invest USD 1.085 billion towards the upgradation. Still, given how this manufacturing technique influences the design of the EVs, we wouldn’t be surprised if other Volvo production network sites (in the USA, Belgium, and China) also benefit from this upgrade within a short period.
More space, more power
Speaking to Recharge (mestmotor.se) in December 2021, Volvo Cars’ Chief Product Officer talked about some key attributes of third-gen Volvo EVs due 2025 onwards. He suggested that a new platform developed exclusively for EVs will likely underpin these cars. Their batteries will likely be glued to them, which would save cabin space and lower the height for enhanced aerodynamics and range.
Gluing the batteries has a big disadvantage, too, that it’s not easy to replace damaged cells. What Volvo Cars could do to overcome the limitation is have enough buffer capacity, maintaining the embedded/gross capacity sufficiently higher than the required net/useable capacity.
Green confirmed that the upcoming Volvo EVs, presumably including the rumored Embla, will offer 400 kW (536 hp) of motor output. The next-gen Volvo EVs arriving later will take it up a notch, Green indicated, saying 500 kW (670 hp) is “the step thereafter.” It remains to be seen how many of these benefits are applicable to the XC70 equivalent.
Wireless EV charging
As Hyundai Motor Group is testing the new technology with the Genesis GV60, Volvo Cars has begun the development of wireless EV charging with the Volvo XC40 Recharge. The company will test wireless charging on a small fleet of the compact SUV it has delivered to Caboline, the Nordic region’s largest taxi operator. Caboline will charge all of the XC40 Recharge units on wireless charging stations in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Momentum Dynamics has delivered the wireless charging stations to Volvo Cars. All the driver has to do is park the XC40 over a charging pad embedded in the street and the charging automatically starts. Of course, the EV needs to be compatible with the wireless charger to receive energy through the charging pad, for which it’d need to pack a wireless charging receiver unit. The 360-degree camera system aligns the XC40 Recharge with the charging pad. As for the charging power, Volvo Cars says that the output will be more than 40 kW, which would allow charging nearly as fast as the current DC fast-charger (50 kW).
Volvo Cars plans to test wireless charging in the XC40 Recharge units delivered to Caboline for three years. The technology could be ready for commercialization just around the time of the Volvo V546 launch. In that case, expect the electric mid-size SUV to come with a receiver unit built into it right from the factory and support wireless EV charging.
Integration of VolvoCars.OS
In June 2021, Volvo announced that its future electric cars will feature VolvoCars.OS, which it describes as “an umbrella of various operating systems in electric Volvos across the car and the cloud, and starts with Android Automotive OS and a new in-car display approach”.
Volvo is partnering with Google (again, as existing Volvo cars already have their infotainment system powered by Android OS) to create a new user interface that it says will give the driver clear information, and would be appropriate to the relevance while behind the wheel (where it could be concise and easy-to-use while driving, and when parked, the driver can toggle or refine the settings).
Future Volvos, including the Volvo XC70 equivalent EV, would feature a large, centralized touch screen with “responsive” interaction which will be accessible by voice commands or touch, but not have “information buried deep inside menus or many clicks away”, according to Volvo.
The large central display will be accompanied by a high-resolution driver information screen which gives the driver relevant information related to speed and battery levels, and a heads-up-display will further the safety aspect of the driver focussing on the road.
Standardisation of LiDAR in future Volvo EVs
Volvo also announced in June 2021 that its XC90 successor (reported to be called the Volvo Embla) will incorporate LiDAR technology developed by Luminar and an autonomous driving computer powered by the Nvidia Drive Orin chip, as part of its standard equipment. Volvo says this will have two primary benefits for the customer. The first is that it will further reduce collisions towards Volvo’s target of having zero collisions and no fatalities in its cars.
Volvo says this will also help the customer access advanced autonomous drive systems via over-the-air updates, which will be refined and enhanced as technology progresses and regulations surrounding autonomous vehicles become more clear.
As the system will help Volvo cars in reducing accidents and improving safety, the company says that it will benefit the customer with lower insurance cost as well. For this to happen, more, if not all, future Volvos would need to be installed with LiDAR, which means the Volvo XC70 equivalent EV would benefit from this tech too.
The upcoming Volvos will also get backup systems for steering and braking, which would allow for unsupervised autonomous driving once regulations permit.
Made in the USA
According to Automotive News, the V546 will be produced at Volvo’s North Charleston facility in South Carolina, which the company eventually targets to be EV-exclusive, and at a facility in China (undisclosed). Volvo plans on making 100,000 units of this EV per annum globally, with an estimated split favoring China (60 percent) while the USA takes 40 percent.
South Carolina will also make the Polestar 3, and it was announced in June 2021 to get an investment of USD 118 million to expand the facility. The plant would also have to support Volvo and Polestar EVs exports to other global markets.
Volvo XC70 EV Equivalent FAQs
What is the Volvo V546 release date?
The Volvo XC70 Equivalent EV should be launched sometime in 2025. Note that it would use an entirely different name.
Featured Image – Volvo