Geely-owned Volvo Cars is to invest SEK10 billion in its Torslanda manufacturing plant in Sweden in preparation for the production of next generation fully electric cars.
As part of the planned investments, the company will introduce a number of new and more sustainable technologies and manufacturing processes in the plant. These include the introduction of mega casting of aluminium body parts, a new battery assembly plant and fully refurbished paint and final assembly shops.
The investments follow on a recent announcement by Volvo Cars and Northvolt to invest SEK 30 billion in a new battery plant at Gothenburg.
The company says both investment plans represent new steps towards Volvo Cars’ ambition to be a fully electric car company by 2030 and reflect the company’s commitment to a long-term future in its hometown of Gothenburg.
“With these investments we take an important step towards our all-electric future and prepare for even more advanced and better electric Volvos,” said Håkan Samuelsson, chief executive. “Torslanda is our largest plant and will play a crucial role in our ongoing transformation as we move towards becoming a pure electric car maker by 2030.”
Volvo says the introduction of mega casting of aluminium body parts for the next generation of electric Volvo models is ‘the most significant and exciting change implemented as part of the investment package’. Mega casting creates a number of benefits in terms of sustainability, cost and car performance during the cars lifetime, and Volvo Cars is one of the first car makers to invest in this process.
Casting major parts of the floor structure of the car as one single aluminium part reduces weight, which in turn improves the energy efficiency and thereby the electric range of the car. This also allows Volvo designers to optimally use the available space inside the cabin and luggage area, boosting the overall versatility of the car.
Other benefits from mega casting include reduced complexity in the manufacturing process. That in turn creates cost-savings in terms of material use and logistics, reducing the overall environmental footprint across the manufacturing and supply chain networks.
The upgrade of the paint shop involves the installation of new machinery and implementing new processes, which are expected to support the ongoing reduction of paint shop energy consumption and emissions.
A new battery assembly plant will integrate battery cells and modules in the floor structure of the car, while the assembly shop is being refurbished for the accommodation of next generation fully electric cars, for example with a new ‘marriage point’ where the top body and the floor of the car meet for the first time.