Colin-on-Cars – Smaller electric SUV from Volvo on the cards

Volvo looks set to use the recently announced Geely Sustainable Experience Arhitecture (SEA) for a small, all-electric SUV probably designated XC20 to below the XC40 that is now in full production.

Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (Geely Holding), China’s privately-owned automotive group, recently announced the launch of SEA, the world’s first open-source electric vehicle architecture, that promises to transform the availability of zero-emission cars and trucks in the world’s largest auto markets.

Geely Holding will deploy the SEA architecture across its portfolio of nine global automotive brands which collectively sold more than 2-million units in 2019. The first model to be based on the SEA architecture will be the Lynk & Co Zero Concept, which will go into production in 2021 with a market launch that year.

Geely Holding will make its zero-emission architecture accessible to other original equipment manufacturers and third parties.

Li Shufu, Chairman and founder of Geely Holding, says: “Our development of this transformative electric vehicle architecture marks the biggest leap forward at Geely in more than a decade.

“This far-reaching innovation will greatly expand the volume and scalability of our zero-emission models, and we intend to offer the benefits of this innovation to other manufacturers – reflecting the common interests in our industry in addressing the challenges of climate change. Open-source architectures will be a hallmark of new mobility services, of which Geely Holding is proud to be the pioneer.”

Volvo boss Hakan Samuelsson is reported as saying: “We’ll use it (SEA) for a smaller car, where I think it’s very practical and smart for us to share that, so we can have a cost structure for a smaller car that’s very competitive. It’s difficult to push the CMA platform [the XC40’s chassis], which is a combination platform for EVs and combustion-engined cars, further down. So if you want to do a smaller car than XC40 then SEA can do it. We will use it for that.”

Volvo XC40 Recharge P8 AWD in Glacier Silver

Volvo filed to trademark several variations of the XC name – including XC10 and XC20 – all the way back in 2011, however it has not officially confirmed a designation for the upcoming SUV.

Initially, the SEA architecture will be used by Geely Holding portfolio brands that are accelerating their EV model range. The architecture can accommodate smaller A-Segment through to larger D and E segment vehicles, and will have a variant developed for Light Commercial Vehicles with different packaging offerings including front, rear and all-wheel drive specifications across the spectrum.

The breakthrough has been developed over the past three years at R&D centers in China, Sweden, the UK and Germany. The application of SEA will take synergies and shared architecture benefits that Geely brands have already achieved with the company’s Common Module Architecture (CMA), used on nearly 700 000 vehicles delivered to customers to date since its introduction in 2018.

The technology development was led by Kent Bovellan, head of advanced vehicle architectures at Geely Holding, who says: “This is a highly scalable pure electric architecture that will allow us to make the best-in-class vehicles with leading dynamics, connectivity, intelligence and shared functionality in very high volumes that will bring zero-emission transportation to many more consumers.”

Geely Holding estimates that in the short-term hundreds of thousands of SEA based vehicles will be produced within China with numbers ramping up considerably in the long term as subsidiary brands introduce their own SEA based products. The use of SEA will attract customers, both B2B and B2C, with unrivalled connectivity, shared vehicle functions, e-motor capabilities, constant over-the-air-updates that will keep vehicles up to date, leading autonomous drive functions, and will offer a maximum range in excess of 700 km between recharging with the capacity to increase range in the future.

Synergies generated by the architecture within Geely Holding are expected to reduce development costs at participating brands and to generate substantial savings on R&D costs.

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