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PHEV option teased for Volvo’s new small car, crossover

POSTED BY Nigel Andretti ON 18 May 2016

VOLVO’S campaign to promote its next-generation small car and crossover has picked up a gear with an announcement via social media that they will be offered with a plug-in hybrid powertrain.

Once again using photo-sharing platform Snapchat, the Swedish car-maker posted an image taken from above of the model’s powertrain, revealing a battery pack as part of a plug-in hybrid system.

Volvo is still yet to confirm the mystery model, but the images are widely believed to show snippets of the XC40 crossover and the mechanically related second-generation V40 hatch.

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The other new photo in the latest batch of social media pics is a rear shot with a caption that says: “Showing a new side of Swedish car design”. It reveals a hatch tailgate and tail-lights that are a similar to those from the XC90, although sleeker.

These follow the previously released images of the headlight and lower front air intake.

BMW and Mercedes-Benz have signalled their intention to bring PHEV tech to their small offerings, but it is unlikely to be in their current generations, although a plug-in X1 crossover has been spied testing overseas and could also be close.

No technical details of the powertrain have been announced, but the 40-series pair will be based on Volvo’s new Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) platform, which the company describes as a “smaller but equally advanced version of Volvo’s acclaimed Scalable Product Architecture (SPA)”, that forms the basis of the XC90, S/V90 and the next-gen S/V60 and XC60.

Volvo has already announced that CMA models will be offered with a Twin Engine plug-in hybrid powertrain, although it is unlikely to be offered in the same state of tune as the powerful XC90 Twin Engine that pumps out a combined total of 294kW/640Nm.

“CMA allows Volvo Cars to offer customers of compact cars the same type of premium engineering benefits as owners of its larger cars built on SPA,” Volvo said in a media release last year. “Shared technology between SPA and CMA will include powertrains (both conventional and new plug-in hybrid variants) and the infotainment, climate and data network and safety systems taking the Swedish car maker ever closer to its vision of no deaths or injuries in its new cars by 2020.”

The CMA platform will also underpin models produced by Volvo’s Chinese parent company, Geely, for sale in its home market as well as some global markets, GoAuto reported.

“We have seven-year cadence on the cars, and we have never had an XC40, so I think an XC40 can occur earlier than the cadence of the V40 is replaced,” Volvo Car Group product manager Lars Lagstrom told GoAuto at the international first drive of the XC90 early last year. “I won’t say it will, but it can, because it is a totally new car.”

The ageing underpinnings of the existing V40 are based on the previous-generation Ford Focus, a hangover from when Ford owned Volvo as part of its now-defunct Premier Automotive Group that also included Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin and Lincoln.