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Elon Musk has more influence on the automotive world than ever before.
There is no doubt that Tesla has changed the auto industry. It’s important to understand that this applies not only to fully electric cars, but also how these cars communicate with the central “hive”, such as over-the-air updates, and how they are made. Tesla’s giant casting technology for large aluminum body parts is an ideal example. Volvo intends to do the same soon.
The Swedish automaker just announced plans to invest SEK 10 billion ($1.1 billion) at its Torslanda manufacturing plant in Sweden for its upcoming range of electric vehicles. In addition to the large foundry, the investments include a new battery assembly plant and a completely refurbished paint and final assembly shop. It previously announced an investment of 30 billion Swedish kronor ($3.28 billion) to jointly develop and manufacture next-generation electric vehicle batteries with battery maker Northvolt.
The combined investment is a key part of Volvo’s goal of becoming an all-electric car brand by 2030. “With these investments, we are taking an important step towards our all-electric future and preparing for more advanced and better electric Volvo cars,” said CEO Hakan Samuelson. “Toslanda is our largest factory and will play a key role in our ongoing transformation as we move towards a fully electric vehicle manufacturer by 2030.”
Currently, Volvo’s two electric vehicles consist of the XC40 Recharge and the C40 Recharge. A battery-electric version of the upcoming next-generation XC90 SUV will arrive in 2023, likely based on Concept Recharge. It is important to understand the important role of large castings in electric vehicles.
Not only is production time greatly reduced, but the technology completely avoids stamping and welding processes. Mega Casting is the process of incorporating vehicle parts with as many components as possible into parts. This is more sustainable, reduces weight and improves the long-term cost and performance characteristics of the vehicle over its entire life cycle. The technology also allows designers to maximize passenger and cargo volumes.
Torslanda is Volvo’s oldest factory (opened in 1964) with an annual production capacity of 300,000 vehicles and currently employs around 6,500 people. Volvo also plans to refurbish the logistics area of the factory to improve logistics and freight transport.
The Volvo brand name was originally registered as a trademark in May 1911 for the new range of SKF ball bearings. It means “I roll” in Latin, conjugated from “volvere”. The idea was short-lived and SKF decided to simply use his initials as a trademark for all of its bearing products.
In 1924, SKF sales manager Assar Gabrielsson and KTH-trained engineer Gustav Larson decided to start building Swedish cars. They intend to build cars that can withstand the country’s rough roads and frigid temperatures.
AB Volvo began operations on August 10, 1926. After a year of preparation and ten prototypes produced, the company was ready to start car manufacturing within the SKF Group. The Volvo Group itself believes it started in 1927 when the first car, the Volvo ÖV 4, rolled off the production line at the Heisingen plant in Gothenburg. Only 280 cars were produced that year. The first truck, the “Series 1”, debuted in January 1928 and was an instant hit and garnered international attention. Volvo sold 639 cars in 1930, and soon began exporting trucks to Europe; outside Sweden, these cars were not known until after World War II. AB Volvo was listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange in 1935, and SKF subsequently decided to sell its stake in the company. By 1942, Volvo had acquired the Swedish precision engineering company Svenska Flygmotor, which was later renamed Volvo Aero.
The first bus, called the B1, was launched on the market in 1934, and in the early 1940s the growing product range expanded to include aircraft engines. In 1963, Volvo opened the Volvo Halifax Assembly Plant in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, the company’s first assembly plant outside Sweden.
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