Plans regarding ongoing aftermarket parts availability and repair coverage are still under development as Volvo Cars rolls out a new strategy entailing that every Volvo produced from 2019 onward will come equipped with an electric motor. Pure internal combustion engine (ICE) models are gradually being phased out and replaced by ICE cars with electrified options.
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The automaker’s dealership repair and maintenance bays are in the process of becoming up to speed with the new program. “Our retailers are already experienced at servicing,” notes Jim Nichols, product and technology communications manager, explaining to Aftermarket Business World that “we don’t yet have a cadence for parts and service; the parts and service teams are working on it.”
Five new fully electric models are to be launched between 2019 and 2021. Three of them will be Volvos, and the other two will be enhanced electric vehicles (EVs) from its Polestar line – now slated to become a separately branded EV high-performance nameplate. The five upcoming releases, with specific details to be revealed later, will be supplemented by a range of gasoline and diesel plug-in hybrid and mild-hybrid 48-volt options.
The goal is to sell one million EVs by 2025 along with completely implementing climate-neutral manufacturing operations during that same time frame as part of a sweeping “transformation plan” costing about $11 billion.
“This announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car,” says President and CEO Håkan Samuelsson.
“We believe that the time has come for electrified cars to cease being a niche technology and enter the mainstream,” he says. “People increasingly demand electrified cars, and we want to respond to our customers’ current and future needs. You can now pick and choose whichever electrified Volvo you wish.”
“We have learned a lot about how people use cars with electrification thanks to our current product offer,” observes Dr. Peter Mertens, senior vice president of research and development. “Our research has shown that people are driving our Twin Engine cars in electric mode around 50 per cent of the time, meaning our plug-in hybrids already offer a real alternative to conventional powertrain systems. Battery technology has improved, costs are going down, and public acceptance of electrification is no longer a question.”
Another goal involves bringing autonomous cars to real-life roadways by 2021. In June, Volvo, Autoliv and NVIDIA Corp. unveiled a partnership to work with a new Volvo/Autoliv joint venture called Zenuity to develop the necessary advanced systems and software so that the resulting self-driving cars can recognize objects in their environment, anticipate potential threats and safely navigate.
“This cooperation with NVIDIA places Volvo Cars, Autoliv and Zenuity at the forefront of the fast-moving market to develop next-generation autonomous driving capabilities, and will speed up the development of Volvo’s own commercially available autonomous-drive cars,” according to Samuelsson.