Despite what the company’s leadership in commercial hybrids, road-ready KERS systems, stop-start technology, and upcoming plug-in model line-up might lead you to believe, Volvo’s new leadership clearly doesn’t believe dedicated electric car designs like Nissan’s Leaf or Tesla’s Model S are the way forward. “(Volvo) customers don’t want quirky electric vehicles,” explains Peter Mertens, head of Research and Development at Volvo. “Our electric vehicles will be in existing models.”
So, no new ‘lectric P1800-esque retro coupe, then? I can live with that, especially if Volvo keeps pushing out cars like the slinky, sexy, and forbidden S40 hybrid diesel fruit (shown) or the rally-stage-stylish XC60 plug-in hybrid that the company insists is “coming soon” to US shores.
As for why Volvo saw fit to publicly poke fun at Nissan’s Leaf electric cars while they were announcing their upcoming hybrids, I can’t say. With real-world 0-60 acceleration in the sub 6-second range and fuel economy worthy of a Geo nameplate (not to mention the relative ease of converting the European Volvos to biodiesel), however, I’d tend to agree with Mertens: why would I want a limited EV when I could have a fast, clean, go-anywhere, go-anytime, AWD sporty sedan/SUV?
Look for Volvo’s new line-up of gas and diesel-electric hybrids to start popping up at dealers near you this summer, as MY2014 vehicles … and don’t hold your breath for pure electric cars, I guess!