Every car company is striving toward a more environmental car with green energy. Now Volvo has decided how to do so, they plan to offer a plug-in version of all cars in its vehicle line up, build smaller vehicles, and offer a pure electric vehicle by 2019.
Key to the plan will be its upcoming line of 40-series vehicles built on the Compact Modular Architecture (CMA), which has been designed from the start with electrification in mind. This new architecture should make it easier for the brand to develop a range of body styles that meet consumer needs, from compact wagons, hatchbacks or crossovers, depending on its market, and with a variety of powertrains. The new architecture should enable Volvo to accommodate conventional engines, electric motors or plug-in hybrids, and likely without compromising interior or cargo space.
Volvo currently offers a gasoline plug-in hybrid XC90 T8 SUV in the U.S., and a plug-in XC60 variant should show up in the near future. The manufacturer currently sells a plug-in diesel hybrid version of its V60 wagon in the EU, which for obvious reasons will not make it to the US shores.
Volvo has recently been caught up in the diesel emissions row, after several of its diesel-powered vehicles were found to produce more emissions than previously reported. The electrification strategy seems to mark a shifting of the winds towards batteries and away from the once favored diesel engines.
“We have come to a point where the cost versus benefit calculation for electrification is now almost positive,” said Dr Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President for Research and Development in a news statement. “Battery technology has improved, costs are going down, and public acceptance of electrification is no longer a question.”
Now that we have opened the door to driverless technology we need to make sure that hackers can’t get in as well.
Given the multitude of recalls announced by other automakers, the industry must take action. FCA’s recent 1.4 million vehicle cyber security-related recall is not a one-off occurrence. These types of recalls can be minimized, however, it will not be a singular effort by a single automaker. Today’s connected car includes upward of 300 million lines of code compared to a 747, with roughly 75 million lines. Automotive vulnerabilities are at an all-time high and FCA’s recent recall is perfect evidence of said vulnerabilities. The real question is, who is taking the necessary action?
On July 21, Senators Edward Markey and Richard Blumenthal introduced first-of-its-kind legislation, the Security and Privacy in Your Car Act (SPY Car Act). The senators’ legislation directs the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to establish federal standards that will secure today’s connected car. There was no in-vehicle system regulation until the SPY Car Act.
FCA is suffering $105 million costs in just civil penalties alone, with recall costs entering into the billions. Automotive recalls, SPY Car implications, and improved user experiences can all be alleviated through a common industry trend—collaboration. The recent governmental legislation will kick automakers into high gear with respect to addressing cybersecurity.
While the SPY Car Act was truly an unprecedented announcement, it was also long overdue. As a whole the automotive industry’s cybersecurity posture is weak. Change is inevitable, and Frost & Sullivan believes the industry will see laser focus and fully secure systems within the next two to three years.