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Volvo unveils new concept cars and hints at plug-in hybrid and full-electric power

Date: 18 May 2016   |   Author:

Volvo has released images of two new lower medium concept cars - likely to be branded XC40 and S40 - which slot in at the bottom of its range.

The new models hint at Volvo's future design direction and new small models - which will be available in pure electric battery form and 'Twin Engine' plug-in hybrid form - as part of an 'ambitious revitalisation plan' that sees the brand repositioning itself against upmarket rival brands over the coming four years.

These new models are the first to be built around a new 'compact modular architecture' (CMA) format, which will form the basis for a range of new Volvo small cars that will arrive from 2017 onwards.

"An electric powertrain program including both a new compact Twin Engine plug-in hybrid as well as a pure electric car are central to the CMA architecture", stated Hakan Samuelsson, Volvo president and chief executive.

The new plug-in hybrid technology will feature a small three-cylinder petrol engine mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and electric motor. Unlike Volvo's existing plug-in hybrids including the XC90 T8, the upcoming hybrid models will power the front-wheels only.

Volvo UK MD Nick Connor told BusinessCar in November that "a Volvo SUV in that segment would be a success. There's an obvious need for an extra-small SUV and the advantage is that we would come in with XC [Volvo's off-roader designation] credentials".