“Why are people reluctant to buy a full electric car?” Kerssemakers asked. “It’s between the ears. It’s that they believe there’s not sufficient range.”
The Volvo exec sees a generous driving range as a necessity. “That’s what I put in as the prerequisite for the United States,” Kerssemakers said. “If I want to make a point in the United States, if I want to make volumes, that’s what I believe I need.”
The price point Kerssemakers mentioned is the same as Tesla’s Model 3 and the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt. By 2019 both of those cars are scheduled to be in full production. A Volvo in the mix could be a potent player.
Kerssemakers didn’t indicate whether the vehicle would be a sedan, wagon, or crossover. When asked about development schedule the CEO conceded time is tight but said the company would use one of Volvo’s modular platforms. The two platforms in use today are the SPA larger platform and the smaller CMA. The SPA is used with the XC90, 90 series sedans, and wagons, the XC60 introduced at the Geneva show, and the next-generation S60 sedan. The Volvo XC40 compact crossover coming in early 2018 will use the CMA platform.
During the next few months, Volvo will decide if it will introduce a new model name for its first all-electric model or incorporate it as a variation of an existing model. However that choice plays out, if Volvo brings a 250-mile range electric vehicle to the U.S. as early as 2019, the field will be that much stronger. Volvo hasn’t been shy in its criticism of Tesla’s Autopilot mode and may be holding the Tesla 3 sedan and follow-on Tesla Y crossover in its sights.
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