Volvo, Gothenburg, Sweden – Volvo’s new global small car range will include a pure battery electric vehicle with a 350km driving range as well as a 1.5 liter 3-cylinder Twin Engine plug-in hybrid powertrain variant with a 7-speed automatic transmission. Volvo will bring these powertrains out on a new platform called Compact Modular Architecture (CMA).
Developed in partnership with Geely, Volvo’s Chinese parent company since 2011, the CMA platform is going to produce the S40 and V40, and will also be used to underpin Geely automobiles sold in China. Currently, Volvo’s products are built on the Scalable Product Architecture (SPA), a dash to axle architecture. The CMA construction is a wheel-to-body platform that will launch in 2017.
Volvo’s brand design strategy and their new concepts
Volvo Senior Vice President of design, Thomas Ingenlath, talked about the indistinguishable brand design of most car companies, explaining the difference in Volvo’s brand design by using shoes as an example. Each pair of shoes was the requisite difference in length, but they were also different in style, color, and texture. Ingenlath explained the difference, “it is a new chapter for Volvo, it is much bolder, in the shapes, it is much more extreme and expressive in the colors it combines and the classic elements. It is an adaption of pop culture and new elements in the haute couture of design.”
The 40.1 concept vehicle unveiled was a two-tone CUV. The question to Ingenlath was whether the 40.2 was a sedan, a hatchback or a station wagon. It looks like a car at first glance, but there is no trunk; it is a hatchback. Ingenalth is not sure what to call it since it poses as a sedan, but it has a liftgate. Catching a yawn in his breath Ingenalth thinks Europe might be a bit bored with the hatchback, but all countries like functionality. Luckily, naming is a marketing issue, not a design issue.
Volvo’s goal for Zero Fatalities by 2020
The first new 40 Series car is expected to go into production globally in 2017. Over lunch, Dr. Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President, Research and Development, was asked about the global safety star rating for Geely and Volvo vehicles, “Volvo will not have zero-star rated vehicles. Our cars are designed for real life safe autos, and autos get stars when they are designed that way. When our cars are put into production the safety shows, and then it becomes legally required.” Currently, there are 1.2 million people killed globally every year. Volvo’s goal is to obtain Vision Zero globally, zero fatalities, by 2020.
Designed Around You
Designed Around You are Volvo’s new global brand strategy and part of the company’s global revitalization plan. Victoria Falksund, Vice President of line management places the human factor of Space, Time, and Purity as a priority in the three cars Volvo has on the market currently, and the six they will bring out in the next couple of years. At the same time, they have announced a new target of 1 million electrified cars sold by 2025.
Vehicles of the Future
Some of the functionality that is in the XC 90, such as compressed air for a quick take-off and the solution to Turbo-lag could be seen in future cars. A seat structure that takes the force instead of your spine, run-off-road mitigation and large animal detection will show up in vehicles of the future. The ability to send a key to a family member through the Volvo App is my favorite. If I take our car to the airport, and my husband is coming home from a trip, I can give him access to the car, through the key-sharing program on the App.
Drive Me Program for self-driving vehicles to launch in Sweden
There were discussions about self-driving vehicles, and the programs to come, including the 100 Volvo cars that will be leased for the Drive Me program around Gothenburg, Sweden. 1964 was the first time Volvo tested a rearward-facing child seat, and one could only wish everyone were as passionate about no child dying in a car as Lotta Jakobsson, Senior Technical Specialist of injury prevention at Volvo Cars Safety. If they were, all children would be safe in vehicles, even during an accident.
Volvo is going smaller and opening a plant in Charleston, South Carolina
Mertens confirmed that Volvo could go even smaller than the 40 series, something smart, small, and nimble. Volvo will start producing a car in Charleston, SC in 2018, a 60-Series. The plant is capable of exporting to other countries. BMW produces vehicles in South Carolina and exports seventy-five percent of those vehicles.
The only question left is, what will the global halo car be for Volvo?