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Volvo launches Belgium battery assembly line for all-electric XC40 crossover

Volvo last week formally inaugurated a brand-new EV battery assembly line at its Belgian manufacturing plant in Ghent. That’s where it will start building the XC40 Recharge, its first pure electric car, later this year.

The battery assembly line, which is longer than a football field, is located where an employee parking lot used to exist. The line will use nine stations to produce the XC40 EV’s 78-kilowatt-hour battery pack. The assembly will take place 24 hours a day over three work shifts. Test production starts today.

Last year, Volvo Cars signed long-term supply agreements with China’s CATL and LG Chem of South Korea. The agreements cover the supply of battery cells over the coming decade for Volvo and Polestar models, including the XC40 Recharge. Volvo is engineering the packs and related software, and it will handle assembly of the cells into packs.

Volvo EV battery assembly line in Ghent, Belgium

At the inauguration event, Volvo executives expressed confidence in its battery supply. Jonas Engstrom, Volvo vice president for vehicle line management, said:

We don’t have any issues. Everything is running according to plan.

In January, Volvo reported “several thousands of firm orders” for the all-electric XC40 Recharge, soon after opening online ordering. US consumers can now reserve the XC40 with a $1,000 refundable deposit on the company website. The first customer deliveries of the XC40 Recharge are scheduled to begin later this year.

The price of the XC40 Recharge is expected to be around $55,000 before incentives. European media last week reported that the XC40 Recharge would sell for €62,000 ($70,750) in Germany.

Here are high-level specs for the Volvo XC40 Recharge:

  • A 78kWh battery pack for a range of “over 250 miles (400 km)” based on WLTP
  • Dual Motor 300kW powertrain (a 150kW electric motor on each axle)
  • 11kW onboard charger and 150kW DC fast-charging capability
  • 0 to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds
  • Top speed of 112 mph

Geert Bruyneel, head of global production operations, said:

As the first of our plants to get a battery assembly line, Ghent plays a pioneering role as we continue to prepare our manufacturing network for electrification.

Stefan Fesser, chief of the Ghent plant, promised a “flawless launch” of battery system production at the new 5,000-square-meter facility. The battery assembly line is located on the same campus as Volvo’s vehicle assembly plant.

Volvo XC40 Recharge powertrain

Volvo XC40 Recharge powertrain

Volvo announced in January that it will begin construction of a battery plant in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2020. That battery plant will be completed in early 2022, with production of an electric version of its XC90 crossover to start later in the year.

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Avatar for Bradley Berman Bradley Berman

Bradley writes about electric cars, autonomous vehicles, smart homes, and other tech that’s transforming society. He contributes to The New York Times, SAE International, Via magazine, Popular Mechanics, MIT Technology Review, and others.