A smaller electric Volvo SUV is likely in the cards

Smaller than this, and electric.


China’s Geely owns Volvo Cars, and since earlier this year the companies have increasingly shared engineering and financial resources. Volvo thinks Geely’s solid manufacturing underpins classic Volvo style and makes them a formidable team, and there are no plans to stop. 

Volvo President and CEO Hakan Samuelsson told Auto Express Thursday that Volvo plans to use Geely’s new Sustainable Experience Architecture platform for a smaller model, likely an SUV to sit below the current XC40. Samuelsson noted the platform would give Volvo a competitive cost structure for “a smaller car than XC40.” He added, “We will use it for that.” Volvo did not immediately return a request for comment on the company’s use of the SEA platform.

From his comments, it sounds like to the key to developing a small, premium electric car will be cost. The Volvo boss reiterated that since the platform was developed in China, Chinese suppliers provide an affordable cost structure. Volvo gets to add the trimmings to create something quite premium, like a top hat to finish things off, as Samuelsson characterized it.

Although the CEO thinks this model will be a small SUV, he also said he’s not so sure “SUV” will still hold the same definition in the future. He said ground clearance and off-road prowess aren’t always buyers’ top priorities, so the shape of SUVs could change further. Technically speaking, we already have a word for those cars: “crossovers.” But we came to simply embrace the SUV name as we closed out the last decade.

In the near term, Volvo will be laser-focused on the XC40 Recharge, an electric version of the standard XC40. But, there are limits to engineering an EV on a platform meant for an internal-combustion engine, and that’s likely where SEA will step in for Volvo.

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