Swedish manufacturer's all-electric offerings to be based on existing models

The XC40 is the first small Volvo SUV, and it's about to become the brand's first all-electric vehicle, according to a new report out of the UK.

Speaking with Auto Express, Thomas Ingenlath, Volvo's chief designer, confirmed the company's first EV will be based on the XC40, and would be followed by an all-electric version of the next-generation XC90 – which will also offer Level 4 autonomous driving technology.

"It’s not a secret any more that the first full electric Volvo is on its way with the XC40 coming," Ingenlath told the British publication.

"We’ll start with XC40 and then on it will come step after step into our model range. The next car will be the next-generation XC90."

"That will be the masterplan of how electrification will come to the Volvo product range. We will not establish products beside our hybrids, we will introduce electrification as a powertrain variant within the existing portfolio," he added.

The driving range of the new EV is yet to be confirmed, but a figure of around 310 miles (499km) has been mooted.

Ingenlath's comments confirm Volvo is taking a different path to the likes of Volkswagen, which is in the process of creating a standalone I.D. family of EVs based on a dedicated platform rather than making electric versions of existing model lines.

The XC40 EV will be launched shortly after the Polestar 2, which is the performance division's second standalone model after the 1 hybrid sports car, due sometime in 2019.

It will also be the second electrified XC40 model after the T5 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid (pictured), quietly revealed in China at the end of April, which combines the T3's 115kW/265Nm three-cylinder turbo petrol engine with a 55kW electric motor and 9.7kWh battery pack.

According to overseas reports, the T5 PHEV has a claimed electric range of around 31km, and the powertrain is mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission – a departure from the brand's usual form of eight-speed torque converters of late –  though official details about the new variant remain unconfirmed at this stage.

Australia

We've contacted Volvo's local division for further comments regarding the XC40's upcoming electrified variants. We'll update once we get a response.