Volvo open to fuel cells as range extenders in longer term

2018 Volvo XC60

Volvo made a wave when it became one of the first brands to announce that every vehicle it launches from 2019 on would feature an electric motor, but it won’t stop there. While the near-term goal is to introduce more battery-electric cars, the brand won’t exclude hydrogen fuel cells.

reported on Thursday that a fuel cell could serve as a range extender in future Volvo cars. The strategy is markedly different from other brands such as Mercedes-Benz, which plans for a fuel-cell-powered GLC F-Cell for 2019. The luxury SUV is actually a hydrogen-electric plug-in hybrid with a 13.8-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery as the fuel cell’s backup. Volvo isn’t nearly as bullish on fuel cells in the short term and vice president of sales and marketing Bjorn Annwall said the fuel-cell range extender may not be ready until around 2027.

“I think fuel cell is interesting but for the next 10 years, it’s batteries. But a fuel cell is essentially a liquid battery, so at some point maybe,” he said.

The report said Volvo Group’s research and development company, Powercell, has completed pre-development of a 20-kilowatt (27-horsepower) fuel-cell range extender that will fit to the XC90’s hybrid powertrain. Volvo gravitated toward the idea of fuel-cell range extenders to keep emission levels at zero. The fuel cell will keep the hybrid powertrain’s battery charged at full capacity to ensure full power. Annwall again reiterated the technology is still far out, but said, “never say never when it comes to technologies.”

Volvo will launch its first purely electric car in 2019, which will boast 250 miles of range and start between $35,000 and $40,000. Two additional electric cars will arrive between 2019 and 2021.

Check Also

Lagonda SUV likely to arrive before sedan

Aston Martin is in the process of reviving historic British marque Lagonda as a purveyor of ultra-luxury cars with electric powertrains and self-driving capability. To kick off the revival, Aston Martin rolled out the Lagonda Vision concept at this month's 2018 Geneva auto show. The concept, a sedan, was more a preview of the design language that will...

VW to return to Pikes Peak with ID R electric racer

It appears Volkswagen's motorsport division has been busy since ending its dominant run in the World Rally Championship at the close of the 2016 season. VW has confirmed it will be returning to the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in 2018, with 2017's winner Romain Dumas set to hop behind the wheel of a custom race car called the ID R Pikes Peak...