Automakers have been in a frenzy of late to claim a leadership position with electrification. Volvo has now taken a significant step in that direction by announcing its intention to include an electric motor in all of its models launched after 2019.
That doesn’t signify an exclusive leap toward battery electric cars, even though Volvo does plan to launch five all-electric vehicles between 2019 and 2021. Electrification can take many forms including hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric-assist systems, plus of course cars that run exclusively on batteries. There will be a mix in the Volvo lineup depending on a model’s propulsion needs and market demands.
This move is not a surprise. Volvo announced three years ago that it was replacing the five- and six-cylinder engines that had been powering its models with a new and more efficient Drive-E four-cylinder. This engine architecture was designed from the beginning to include a start-stop motor and regenerative braking, plus ready integration with hybrid and plug-in hybrid technology.
The first use of Drive-E engines in the U.S. was in select 2015 Volvo models. Since Volvo’s plan all along was to transition its models to Drive-E power and this engine was designed for electrification, using electrically-augmented Drive-E engines – or in some cases battery electric drivetrains – in all new models after 2019 represents the next stage of this transition.