News of the Volvo XC20 has been making the rounds since 2017 when one Volvo officer remarked that if a smaller range is approved it would make that a 20 Series. The XC20 is back in the news in 2020 and this time it could become a reality with the help of an architecture that is developed by Geely.
In 2019, there were reports of a smaller SUV (below the XC40) in the works to mark the first model of the Volvo 20 series. While the XC90, XC60 and XC40 have proven successful, Volvo is now looking to introduce a B-segment SUV, with the focus on global markets and electrification. Where the Germans rivals are building up no less than 6 crossover-SUV models each by mid-decade, Volvo has 3. It used to be active in the entry segment with the V40 Cross Country, a pseudo-SUV that was based on a Ford-developed platform, but the complete V40 Series was discontinued last year.
In terms of size, the Volvo XC20 could compete with the Audi Q2, which measures 4.19 m in length with a 2.60 m wheelbase.
Volvo XC20 – A pure-electric crossover riding on the SEA?
Geely’s Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA), unveiled in September, is a dedicated architecture for EVs that is aluminium intensive, and can support small and large vehicles, including SUVs, sedans, vans and pickups. It has the capability to have intelligent car technologies like connectivity and autonomous driving.
SEA is designed to use a battery that has a lifespan of 2 million km manufactured by Chinese maker CATL.
Volvo is very likely to capitalize this vehicle architecture to introduce the XC20 that would be a crossover designed for the urban grind. The city hopper could take the place of the Volvo V40 Cross Country.
Geely’s BMA platform is highly flexible with EVs to follow
Another option for Volvo is using Geely’s BMA platform, as reported by auto.163.com, which underpins the Geely Icon crossover, Bin Rui sedan and BinYue hybrid crossover. The BMA platform allows different body types to be developed in A and B segments including crossovers and can support IC engines and hybrid powertrains.
During the technology announcement in 2018, Geely said that the development of BMA was a four year effort by around 100 modular architecture experts from over 20 countries based in Geely’s R&D center in Hangzhou Bay. The BMA architecture is a collection of power, electrical, chassis, and body modules which can be clubbed like building blocks to create a variety of vehicles. Any vehicle shape from sedans to crossovers to MPV’s to SUV’s is possible on the BMA and new vehicle development time shrinks to 18-24 months.
Geely confirmed that the BMA supports different power options including Geely’s 1.0TD, 1.4T, 1.5TD, as well as hybrid powertrain systems such as PHEV, HEV and MHEV.
Volvo’s CEO Hakan Samuelsson told Automotive News Europe that 75 per cent of Volvo sales would be derived from SUVs. Through the 11 months of 2020, Volvo SUV’s took 71 per cent of the pie. He conceded that the right cost structure could be struck only through a platform partnership and that the brand sees a trend emerging towards small premium SUVs.
Samuelsson is convinced about electric vehicles taking over this decade. At the Financial Times Future of the Car Summit this month he said he would be surprised if Volvo would not deliver only EVs from 2030.
If it comes to fruition, Volvo XC20 would first help Volvo’s goal of generating 50 per cent of its global sales from fully electric cars by 2025 and no doubt this would be great for conquest sales. The company’s other crossover is the Volvo C40, a coupe-style XC40 that will arrive in a pure electric form in 2021.