Volvo Cars’ (Volvo) Ridgeville, South Carolina, facility will be the automaker’s first assembly plant to build only electric vehicles (EVs), ahead of its factories in Europe and China, the company has announced. This is in advance of the automaker’s stated goal of becoming an all-electric car company by 2030. Volvo’s current EV lineup consists solely of the XC40 Recharge, but the C40 Recharge will soon join it. The C40 Recharge can now be reserved online.
The Ridgeville plant, inaugurated just three years ago, is destined to be the hub of Volvo’s electric initiative. According to Automotive News, the company will start building the Polestar 3 SUV and then initiate the much-anticipated 2023 Volvo XC90 midsize crossover EV next year. The XC60 electric compact utility will soon follow; all will employ Volvo’s Scalable Platform Architecture (SPA) EV platform.
In 2020, Volvo employed 1,500 people and produced less than 30,000 S60 sedans at the 2.3 million sq.-ft. plant, but the facility can build up to 150,000 vehicles annually. Previously, Volvo has said they will invest $700 million in the plant, a massive boon to the local economy. The investment will establish another assembly line and a plat to assemble battery packs, possibly tripling the hourly workforce. Volvo said the plant would generate about $100 million in tax revenue and $5 billion in economic activity in South Carolina by 2022.
Volvo states that by building electric vehicles in America, where the company will sell them, they can further reduce carbon emissions by cutting down on shipping costs. Initially, however, the XC90 will be shipped abroad until overseas factories can switch to building electric vehicles.
Volvo’s new XC90 EV, its flagship SUV model, will be closely watched as it debuts its LiDAR technology and autonomous driving supercomputer chip, both of which are standard equipment. Volvo expects this to usher in a new era of safety-related advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS) that tread into autonomous driving capabilities.