Volvo Plans EV Battery Plant in U.S.
Volvo is adding a battery factory to supply electric variants of vehicles to be made at its 18-month-old assembly plant near Charleston, S.C.
The project will help Volvo get ready for its first American-made electric car by about the end of next year.
XC90 Goes Electric
The company’s $1.1 billion assembly plant in South Carolina opened in mid-2018, making S60 midsize sport sedans. Next year the facility will add the next-generation XC90 large SUV/crossover model, some of which will be fitted with all-electric powertrains.
The battery factory is part of a $600 million expansion that also will install a second assembly line for the XC90. Volvo hasn’t said how many of those vehicles will be electrified, but setting up local battery assembly shows a commitment to America’s fledgling EV market.
Several years back, one of the authors visited a major North American assembly plant engaged in the launch of a new vehicle program. A "ramp-up" schedule was prominently displayed on a bulletin board deep in the heart of the plant. The schedule indicated that the day of the visit was the same day the plant was originally planned to achieve full capacity production of its new product. Yet the plant was actually producing only a few units an hour! The assembly plant's tardiness is certainly not uncommon, but did contribute to our interest in the wide range in vehicle launch performance across major vehicle firms.
Imagine having an idea that is transformed without a whole lot of modification into a series of cars rolling off the assembly line. BMW's Anders Warming is one of the few who have had that experience.
Here's an overview of the study of assembly plant productivity that gets the undivided attention of all automakers: "The Harbour Report." Although the Big Three companies are getting better, they still have a way to go. But given the levels of competition, better won't be good enough for some plants, it seems.