Volvo Cars and its Chinese parent company, Geely, are ready to branch out into new vehicle segments following the opening of the China Euro Vehicle Technology (CEVT) center, a Geely subsidiary, in Sweden.
The CEVT is specifically a research and development facility for C-segment models (compact sedans, hatchbacks, and crossovers). From end-to-end, the CEVT center will be able to develop a vehicle’s architecture, powertrain, transmission, body, and exterior design.
The first task will be to engineer a new platform for global C-segment vehicles, including the successor to the Volvo V40 and the planned XC40 compact crossover. Uniquely, the architecture will be based on the philosophy of ‘common interfaces.’ This modular frame will adjustable by length, width, height, wheelbase, and wheel size.
Additionally, to account for a diverse pricing structure across all the models that will use the new chassis, each module can be built for specific performance characteristics. For example, the front-end module can be adjusted for handling, noise, and vibrations that would be communicated though the front suspension and steering.
CEVT’s adjustable platform will allow for several new models and categories of vehicles and will make it easy for Volvo to add new technology and model variants to the foundational architecture.
Two core pieces of CEVT’s new platform will be a hybrid powertrain with an electric rear axle and a mechanical all-wheel drive system. The first vehicle project will most likely be the V40 successor, which will swap the current Ford EUCD chassis for CEVT’s new modular architecture. New models are still years off, but when they are produced, Volvo will target European and Chinese buyers first before deciding if the North American market is worth pursuing.