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Volvo, Baidu Team Up To Develop Electric Autonomous Cars

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Volvo logo on grille

The two companies want to be the supplier of choice for mobility companies around the world.

Volvo and Baidu have entered into a partnership to develop electric and fully autonomous cars for China.

China is expected to become the single largest market for autonomous cars in the world in coming decades, with market research firm IHS Markit predicting that around 14.5 million autonomous cars will be sold in the country by 2040, accounting for nearly half of the projected total global volume of around 33 million.

Hoping too capitalize and lead this disruption in the industry, the duo plan to mass produce electric and autonomous cars in China, with Volvo bringing to the table its expertise and technologies in the automotive industry and Baidu providing its Apollo autonomous driving platform.

Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo Cars, stated:

“With Baidu we take a big step forward in commercializing our autonomous compatible cars, built on Volvo’s industry-leading safety technology. There is a strong development in autonomous drive in China, where Baidu is a leading player, and the market there offers huge opportunities for us as the supplier of choice for autonomous fleets.”

Baidu has already teamed up with about 90 different partners for its open-source Apollo project, including other automakers like BMW, Ford, and Hyundai, as well as tech companies like Nvidia and Bosch.

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New Cars

All-New Volvo V60 Cross Country Is A Wagon That Can Get Dirty

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New Volvo V60 Cross Country, mud off-roading

The rugged Swedish wagon has additional ground clearance and a more robust suspension.

Volvo has unveiled the new Volvo V60 Cross Country, a higher riding, off-road ready version of the V60 that blends the best of wagons and utility vehicles.

Based on Volvo’s flexible Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform that also underpins the latest 60- and 90-series models, the V60 Cross Country benefits from three inches (75 mm) of additional ground clearance and a chassis and suspension specially developed to better handle more difficult terrain than the V60.

All-wheel drive is standard, as are Hill Descent Control, Corner Traction Control, a unique Off-Road driving mode, and City Safety with automatic emergency braking

The rugged V60 also comes equipped with Pilot Assist, which helps the driver with steering, acceleration and braking on well-marked roads at speeds of up to 80 mph (129 km/h), but Cross Traffic Alert with autobrake is optional.

Power will be provided by a T5 AWD powertrain at launch, followed by mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants at later dates.

The Volvo V60 Cross Country is available via the Care by Volvo subscription service.

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Volvo

‘M’ Is The Name Of Volvo’s Mobility Operations Sub-Brand

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Volvo Letter Logo

Volvo has launched a new sub-brand for its mobility operations, and it’s called ‘M’.

“Freedom to Move” is the mantra of the new ‘M’ sub-brand. Don’t liken it to BMW’s M division, however — the focus here is on mobility operations rather than on performance vehicles.

The new brand looks beyond the current idea of ‘mobility’ as alternatives to taxis or public transit, using learning technology to glean details from users to tailor their service. Volvo chief Håkan Samuelsson stated:

“We recognize that urban consumers are rethinking traditional car ownership. M is part of our answer. We are evolving to become a direct-to-consumer services provider under our new mission ‘Freedom to Move.'”

The M mobility scheme will be integrated with Volvo Car Group’s Sunfleet operations, which the Swedish automaker claims is the leading car sharing company in Sweden with 500,000 annual transactions and a fleet of 1,700 cars. The goal is to build more than five million “direct consumer relationships” over the next decade.

Volkswagen’s Moia mobility brand, despite having a driveless focus, competes with M, while an increasing number of rival manufacturers are launching their own subscription services.

Bodil Eriksson, former vice president of product, marketing and communications at Volvo USA, suggested that M and the Care By Volvo vehicle subscription service might not be the only mobility strategies that the company will offer, claiming that “a range of on-demand mobility solutions” are on the way. In fact, Volvo wants 20% of its sales to be subscription-based by 2022 and 50% by 2025.

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Crossovers

Volvo XC40 EV Is Volvo’s First Electric Car

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Volvo XC40 T5 Plug-in Hybrid

Volvo’s design chief Thomas Ingenlath has revealed some more details about Volvo’s electrification plans.

Speaking to Autocar at the unveiling of the all-new 2019 Volvo S60 sedan, Ingenlath confirmed that the company will introduce a new fully electric XC40, which will be first fully electric Volvo car. The XC40 EV will be followed by a string of other full-electric models, including the Polestar 2 in 2019 and an electric version of the next-generation XC90 SUV in 2021.

The executive also revealed that the Swedish automaker won’t follow Volkswagen, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and several other car makers and have a standalone sub-brand dedicated to electric vehicles, opting instead to release electric versions of its existing models. He stated:

“You could say that is different to a lot of the mass-production brands. But I have a hard time to understand how their plan will work in the long run. Electrification is the future of the automotive industry, so how do you handle that as soon as you come to the majority of electric cars? How do you handle it in your portfolio? I think it’s much more natural to say it’s a powertrain variant that over time will take up the majority of the sold vehicles.”

Volvo hasn’t confirmed if there will be fully-electric versions of its sedan lineup, but the new S60 will be offered wit two plug-in hybrid versions.

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