Currently reading: Volvo and Lynk&Co plug-in hybrid tech to launch in 2018
The compact drivetrain technology will initially allow for a full-electric range of 31 miles, moving to 50 miles in future

The compact plug-in hybrid system being developed by Volvo and its Chinese sister firm Lynk&Co will be good for an electric range of up to 50 miles.

The drivetrain is based around a three-cylinder petrol engine, seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, battery pack and electric motor.

Guangzhou motor show 2017 report

It will launch initially in the second half of 2018 with a 31-mile range on the Volvo XC40 and Lynk&Co 01, but is quickly being developed to offer up to 50 miles, which would be far in excess of any other similarly sized car in the segment, present or future.

The Volvo and Lynk&Co models, compact SUVs developed in parallel on a new natively front-wheel-drive architecture called CMA, will also spawn full electric versions at the start of the next decade, with a range that could be as great as 373 miles (600km).

Other ranges under consideration are 249 miles (400km) and 311 miles (500km), with the firm set to pick one to launch with and then offer different versions as part of a range, similar to how Tesla sells its models. 

Product boss Yuebing Zhong confirmed Lynk&Co’s plans to Autocar at the Guangzhou motor show, including plans to launch electric cars across several key segments. 

The 02 and 03 models will launch next year (as non-electric models), both also built on the CMA platform, the 02 coming in the first half of the year and the 03 the second. The 02 is another crossover SUV that’s smaller than the 01, while the 03 is a saloon, albeit one with a crossover look that’s been previewed by a concept car.

The 01, 02 and 03 naming strategy is as simple as describing the order in which the models are launched. Zhong confirmed further models – so 04, 05, 05 and 07, for example – were under development, and by 2020 “there would be more than five or six cars”. Each will be a model will global appeal, ruling out the likes of a family hatchback to rival the Volkswagen Golf.

To that end, Lynk&Co will follow its launch in China with one in Germany in 2019, with other European markets and the United States set to follow. The UK is one of the markets under consideration, and right-hand drive is in the Lynk&Co plan, albeit with no firm date next to a launch. “It’s technically doable,” said Zhong. “We will do it, but we consider other markets first.”

European production could also be on the cards for Lynk&Co, which will initially make its models in China. 

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Zhong said the models could be built alongside Volvo’s CMA cars in Volvo’s Ghent plant in Belgium. “We have the opportunity to build in Ghent, but it depends on the sales targets, the marketing needs and the production targets,” said Zhong. “If we decide to produce there, it’s doable.”

Lynk&Co confirmed a starting price of 180,000 RMB (£20,500) for the Lynk&Co 01 model, which goes on sale tonight in China.

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