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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

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Volvo unveils flagship SUV with battery for push-to-ditch engines

Volvo Car AB showed the EX90, a battery-powered SUV as the successor to its petrol-era flagship, as the carmaker aims to go all-electric by the end of the decade.

Volvo Car AB showed the EX90, a battery-powered SUV as the successor to its petrol-era flagship, as the carmaker aims to go all-electric by the end of the decade.

The vehicle, with lidar sensors to better see the environment, has a range of 600 kilometers and is the successor to the popular XC90 that was introduced eight years ago. Chief Executive Officer Jim Rowan is under pressure to execute on the manufacturer’s ambitious electrification plan, with EVs accounting for just 15% of total deliveries in October.

Volvo Car enters a crowded space as manufacturers compete for a share of the lucrative SUV market. Last month, Mercedes-Benz AG and Polestar Automotive Holding unveiled new battery SUVs to take on Tesla Inc.’s Model Y.

The 7-seat EX90, starting at $80,000, is the first model built on the automaker’s new dedicated EV platform and will be produced from next year at Volvo’s US plants in Ridgeville and Charleston, South Carolina. Production will start in China in 2024. Making the car a success is key to meeting the goals of selling 1.2 million vehicles per year by the middle of the decade, up from about 699,000 last year, and to stop making cars with combustion engine.

“We’re very comfortable with that target,” Rowan said during an interview with Bloomberg Television. “We will launch a new EV every year for the next five years.”

After the EX90, a smaller SUV will follow in 2023. The company will also hold an investor day on Thursday.

Asked about some recent mixed signals about electrification regulation, Rowan said EVs will be adopted soon after they hit a tipping point.

“Technology is winning the day,” he said. “EVs are the better technology than combustion engines — there’s better acceleration and less noise. ”

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