To say that Volvo's plug-in vehicle offerings are slim would be an understatement. The Swedish automaker currently leases a few hundred electric Volvo C30s to Europeans wealthy enough to pay some $2,100 per month to drive the electric compact. Then there's the $66,000-plus Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid, which it too is offered only in Europe and in limited numbers.
Volvo C30 Electric Gen II
If Volvo is ever to get serious about plug-in vehicles, then it'll need to offer a more affordable option to buyers.
That's what the Swedish automaker is reportedly considering, according to Autocar.
Volvo says if it finds a suitable partner, then an electrified B-segment vehicle could be the automaker's next plug-in. There's a lot of ifs here, but a B-segment (aka supermini or subcompact) featuring either a pure electric or some sort of hybrid setup would allow Volvo access to a growing group of buyers.
Lex Kerssemakers, Volvo's head of product planning, told Autocar:
2013 World Green Car Of The Year Finalist: 2014 Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid
"We have no plans at the moment, but we all know the role of the B-segment is increasing in terms of sales and pushing down average emissions. Even then, if we did it, we’d need a platform partner and a guarantee of an electric or hybrid powertrain. At present there are no firm plans, but it is a discussion. Every manufacturer is talking about platform and parts sharing at the moment – it is the only sensible way – so it is certainly something that might be possible."
Definitely not a guarantee here, but at least Volvo seems to be considering the option of offering an electrified B-segment vehicle.
The question now is who would be that suitable platform partner? And what automaker could be the electric powertrain provider? Volvo's tie to China (it's owned by Chinese automaker Geely) could provide some hints for answering those questions.