The two people with knowledge of Volvo’s planning asked not to be named because details have not been announced by the company. Geely declined to comment.
Among the new battery electric cars being planned for the next four years is a Volvo-branded van that would be based on a vehicle Geely’s Zeekr brand sells in China.
Called the Zeekr 009, the hulking, battery-electric van, which starts at about 500,000 yuan ($74,179), offers three rows of seating. The vehicle competes against the likes of the Toyota Alphard, a business or family van, with airplane business class-like seats for passengers that has proven popular in Asian markets such as China and Japan as a limousine alternative.
Volvo has moved development work on sedans and the coming people-mover model to its Shanghai research and development hub, they said. That center, which has tripled its design staff to about 60 people, has recently moved to a new and larger building in Shanghai, one of the sources said.
The first of Volvo’s new planned electric models, the EX90 battery-electric crossover, was unveiled late last year. It is expected to go on sale in early 2024.
Other battery-electric cars in the pipeline include electric versions of Volvo’s main products – the XC90, XC60 and XC40 crossover vehicles and the S60 and S90 sedans, the sources said.
Those cars will follow Volvo’s established, simple design cues, but the new van will target buyers in China and other markets with a more “emotional” design that builds from the Zeekr 009, which has a massive, LED-illuminated grille, one of the sources said.
Volvo has carved out and sold its gasoline engine and hybrid powertrain operations to Geely. The Chinese automaker has moved to combine all of its gasoline powertrain assets, including those from Volvo, with factories being carved out of Renault to create a new company focused on hybrid and gasoline engines.
Renault and Geely are working to finalize a deal to bring Saudi Aramco in as an investor and partner in that venture, Reuters has reported.