Volvo new products and developments for future growth
Volvo Cars’ future as a strong, independent car maker was reinforced with the announcement of a multi-billion dollar investment in SPA – Scalable Product Architecture and VEA – Volvo Engine Architecture. SPA is a flexible, scalable product architecture that will cover most of Volvo’s future car models. With lower costs for development and parts designed to be shared by all models, there will be more capacity left for focusing on individual details that are important to customers. The first car model based on the new architecture is the next-generation Volvo XC90.
The new engine range VEA will consist solely of four-cylinder engines. Combined with electrification and other spearhead technology, the VEA range will deliver higher performance than today’s six-cylinder units, along with lower fuel consumption than today’s four-cylinder engines.
Investments in the manufacturing system
As part of the significant investments in the new SPA and VEA projects, construction of the new body shop in the Torslanda vehicle plant in Gothenburg, Sweden is ongoing and will be completed during the second half of 2013. In addition, there will also be considerable investments in the Body Components plant in Olofström, Sweden as well as in the Engine plant in Skövde, Sweden. In Belgium, the Ghent plant will also benefit from the SPA investments. The Ghent plant operates at a very high capacity utilisation level with 2012 being its second best year ever in terms of production volumes. Further, the new Volvo V40 models were successfully introduced in this plant during the year. Also the Chengdu plant in China will, when it starts up late 2013, be ready for the upcoming new vehicle architecture. Further, a flexible manufacturing system for the Volvo S60 model has been introduced which means that volumes can be allocated to the Torslanda and Ghent plants depending on capacity situation.
Volvo XC60 Plug-in Hybrid Concept – a unique blend of gasoline and electric power
During the Detroit Motor Show in January 2012, Volvo revealed the Volvo XC60 Plug-in Hybrid Concept. It is an electric car, a highly economical hybrid and a powerful high-performance car – all rolled into one. At the touch of a button, the driver decides how the available power from the combination of the high-performance gasoline engine and the electric motor is to be utilized. This world-class gasoline plug-in hybrid technology, featuring a state-of-the-art four-cylinder engine from the upcoming VEA engine family, will reach showrooms in a couple of years.
Electric car recharging time cut to 1.5 hours
Volvo Cars started testing a new fast-charger for electric cars that cuts recharging time to an outstanding 1.5 hours – six times faster than today’s on-board devices. The fast-charging unit helps cure what is known as ‘range anxiety’ since the car can be more easily recharged during the day. The new charger has been installed and will be evaluated in a number of Volvo C30 Electric cars. In 2012, Volvo Cars also delivered 15 Volvo C30 Electric cars to the City of Shanghai for pioneering an open road test-drive project. Meanwhile, the Volvo C30 Electric was also awarded “Green Car of the Year” in China at the 4th China New Energy Mobility Summit, in recognition of its world-leading safety and superb performance.
Strategic partnerships for future vehicle technologies
Volvo Cars also announced a number of technology partnerships. The company revealed in May that it had chosen electronic equipment supplier Mitsubishi Electric Corporation as partner for the next-generation infotainment system for future Volvo cars. Mitsubishi’s world-leading knowledge and experience will bring the infotainment system in future Volvo cars up to a world class level. In the area of automotive internet services, Volvo Cars and Ericsson joined forces to advance the technical development of industry-leading, cloud-based innovations.
Volvo Cars also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the members of the CAR 2 CAR Communication Consortium regarding implementation of shared technology for communication between cars in 2016. Also, further steps were taken in the partnership with Siemens to continue the developments of electrification technologies.
Source: Volvo Car
Romain Nicolas opinion:
It seems that Volvo is going better since it has been bought by Geely. Even if the sales are not so better than before, they are investing much more which allows Volvo to establish a long-term strategy of which the first outcome is the V60 Plug-In hybrid industrialization. Do you think this strategy based on R&D will pay off through car sales and perceived image?