More details were revealed Wednesday about Volvo’s fully electric SUV that will be built in Ridgeville – and the massive effort it will take to roll them off the assembly line.
The Volvo EX90 made its debut in November as the Swedish car company’s new fully electric vehicle.
David Stenström, Volvo Cars USA VP manufacturing Americas, said at the 12th annual South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance Automotive Summit on Wednesday that it will feature recycled plastics for the interior, which will be all animal/leather-free, among many other top-of-the-line and sustainable features.
He said it’s been a big challenge, but they are confident in overcoming those challenges.
The biggest of those challenges being:
Fifty percent more machines will need to be installed ahead of building the EX90s at Volvo’s Ridgeville plant — in addition to 1,300 new team members to be hired for its launch. The new employees will need to undergo eight weeks of training.
It takes seven years to design, build and then launch a new vehicle, said Stenström.
“The competition will be brutal for Volvo,” said Stenström. “If you’re not out there being the first, you probably will not survive (in this industry). But there is nothing hindering us from expanding what we have today and with the right people there is nothing we can’t do.”
Volvo CEO Jim Rowan said the EX90 ushers in a new era for safety for Volvo drivers and passengers.
“Born electric, born with lidar. The start of a new era of electrification, technology and safety,” Rowan said in a video presentation at the end of September. All Volvo EX90s will come with a combination of the latest technology powered by an understanding of the car’s outside environment and the person driving the vehicle, the company said.
Greenville and Spartanburg County Councils approved Volvo Cars USA’s fee-in-lieu-of-tax agreements in October. The FILOT applies to specific sites occupied by parts makers in the Upstate to prepare the company’s Ridgeville plant for building the electric SUVs.
Stenström said by 2025, they plan for a zero-carbon neutral site, in addition to these other mid-decade business ambitions:
- 50% fully electric sales;
- 1.2 million units sold;
- 40% CO2 reduction per car; and
- 50% online sales in the U.S.
Long-term Volvo ambitions include climate neutral company by 2040, pure electric car company by 2030, circular business by 2040, and recognized leader in responsible business. Currently, 90% of the EX90’s build is localized.
“South Carolina is blessed to have Volvo Cars here, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds as Volvo continues to innovate and grow here,” said Sara Hazzard, president and CEO of the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance.