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Volvo will finally pull the wraps off of its first pure-electric production automobile – a battery-powered version of the Volvo XC40 crossover – next month, kickstarting an effort to reach 50% global EV sales by volume by the year 2025. Predictably, safety was among the automaker’s top concerns for the all-new design.
“Regardless of what drives a car forward, be it an electric machine or combustion engine, a Volvo must be safe,” says Volvo Cars Head of Safety Malin Ekholm. “The fully electric XC40 will be one of the safest cars we have ever built.”
Adapting existing gas engine-powered designs to serve as EV platforms comes with a unique set of challenges, as the powertrain packaging must be completely different. The electric Volvo XC40 will feature a completely redesigned, reinforced frontal structure capable of meeting the Swedish brand’s strict internal safety requirements sans internal combustion engine.
The battery pack, meanwhile, will be integrated into the floor of the vehicle, lending the XC40 a low center-of-gravity that will contribute to improved rollover resistance.
That floor-mounted battery pack is protected by a unique aluminum safety cage that creates a mid-mounted crumple zone around the battery pack, and the powertrain is integrated into the body structure at the rear of the car to help distribute collision forces.
Taking a page from Tesla’s playbook, the electric Volvo XC40 will also feature an advanced, scalable active safety sensor platform that sets the stage for autonomous driving integration in the future, with radars, cameras, and ultrasonic sensors.
Details of the electric XC40’s powertrain are still unknown, but the crossover could be motivated by a system similar to that in the more performance-oriented Polestar 2, which boasts a 78-kWh battery pack projected to deliver about 275 miles of range on a full charge. Output in the XC40 BEV likely won’t be as great as the Polestar’s 400-or-so horsepower, but interestingly, the Polestar 2 will be built at the same Geely plant in Luqiao, China as the XC40.