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Volvo's second EV to enter production in 2021 as sales recover

Hot on the heels of its XC40 Recharge, a new battery-powered model will help triple EV production in Volvo's plant in Belgium by 2022.

Volvo XC40 Recharge production in Ghent, Belgium
A second EV will soon be produced alongside Volvo's XC40 Recharge all-electric SUV.

Volvo has arguably been the auto industry's most vocal legacy carmaker in its push for electrification. On Thursday, the company announced another step in its plans to add batteries and strip internal combustion power from its lineup of cars and SUVs.

The Swedish automaker said in a statement that it will triple EV production capacity at its plant in Ghent, Belgium, even as its first all-electric Recharge models are only just now hitting North American dealers. The statement confirms that Volvo's second pure EV will enter production in 2021, following on the heels of the XC40 Recharge, a small crossover SUV that's also produced in Belgium alongside its plug-in hybrid sibling. The unnamed EV is tipped to debut in March.

The electric-car ramp-up will take the Ghent plant to around 60% EV by 2022, and Volvo is widely expected to add battery-powered vehicle assembly at its other plants around the globe, including its newest factory outside of Charleston, South Carolina, which presently assembles the company's S60 sedan in both internal-combustion-only and hybrid varieties. Volvo plans to begin assembling its XC90 flagship SUV at the same plant in 2022.

Volvo, a subsidiary of China's Geely, previously announced a company goal to have half of its global sales be from EV models by 2025. The balance would be internal combustion-powered vehicles with some level of electrification, whether hybrid or plug-in hybrid. In December, Volvo revealed plans to eventually take all electric motor production in-house.

Volvo sold 661,713 vehicles in 2021, a 6.2% drop year over year. Sales were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but touts the company's strongest second-half sales in history, with sales rising 7.4% year over year to help to offset a much steeper 21% first-half drop.