Swedish automaker Volvo Cars will convert its Ridgeville plant in the US state of South Carolina into an all-electric car production facility, where it plans to build "new-generation all-electric cars - ahead of Europe and ahead of China".
The plant, which currently only produces the S60 mid-size sedan, will initially be expanded to include two electric crossovers: As already officially announced, production of the Polestar 3 electric SUV for the U.S. market will begin there next year, along with the battery-electric version of the Volvo XC 90.
There were rumors as early as the beginning of 2020 that the electric XC 90 could be built at the Ridgeville plant, which has now been confirmed. It is not yet official whether the all-electric successor to the Volvo XC60, which was confirmed a few days ago as part of Volvo Cars' announced battery joint venture with Northvolt, could also be produced at the U.S. plant from the end of 2024. Details on this should follow in due course.
The plant, located northwest of the U.S. city of Charleston, began operations three years ago, and the automaker has previously said it has invested about $700 million in the site to build electric cars in the future. Samuelsson says it will now be the "first factory in the world to build our new-generation all-electric cars - ahead of Europe and ahead of China." "Charleston will play a very important role in our electrification strategy," Samuelsson elaborates. "It's a huge investment we're making here."
The battery-electric vehicles, based on the company's proprietary SPA (Scalable Product Architecture) kit, are expected to feature advanced autonomous driver assistance technology. "We have developed a new technology, including a completely new architecture that is all-electric," Samuelsson said.
The e-cars built at the Ridgeville plant in the future will be primarily for the U.S. market, but there is the capacity to supply overseas markets if needed, the report adds. At least as far as the electric XC90 is concerned, the factory will be the global production hub for now. From there, the XC90 BEV will be "exported first to Europe and possibly China," according to Javier Varela, head of industrial operations at Volvo Cars. The intention is not to "build a super-hub to export from here," Varela said. "It's about having a plant that can supply this market and then help supply other markets with flexibility."