Volvo is gearing up to launch a successor to the XC90, a model that has been developed as an electric vehicle but expected to offer hybrid powertrains in some markets.
According to the British publication, the entry-level crossover will be a pure electric model and, like the XC90 successor, will have a real name instead of an alphanumeric moniker.
Volvo’s smallest models at present are the XC40 compact crossover and coupe-like C40 Recharge. However, Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson during the reveal of the C40 Recharge earlier this year said the company was planning a model to sit below the 40 series.
According to Autocar, the new baby Volvo crossover is being developed on the SEA modular EV platform from Volvo parent company Geely. The platform made its debut earlier this year in the 001 hot hatch from fellow Geely brand Zeekr and features an 800-volt electrical system for high-speed charging.
The baby Volvo will likely be built in China to keep costs down. Geely has built a state-of-the-art plant in the Chinese coastal city of Ningbo for production of SEA-based vehicles.
It's not the first time we've heard plans for Volvos sized smaller than the 40-series. In 2017, Lex Kerssemakers, head of commercial operations at Volvo, hinted at a new 20-series subcompact range.
“It’s pretty straightforward: the 90 is the biggest, and the 40 is the smallest,” Kerssemakers said in an interview with Car and Driver. “And when there is a 20, it will be a smaller one.”
Interestingly, Kerssemakers also said that Volvo “only makes global cars,” suggesting perhaps that a future baby Volvo will be offered in the U.S. We could certainly imagine the model competing with pint-sized electric crossovers like an upcoming Mini Countryman EV and the Hyundai Kona Electric.