Volvo Car South Africa recorded impressive sales growth in the new-energy vehicle space in 2023, again leading the charge in the local plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) segment, while also boasting the best-selling fully electric vehicle (EV) in the country.

As was the case in 2022, the XC60 Recharge plug-in hybrid took the crown as South Africa’s most popular PHEV last year. Once again, it was closely followed by the XC90 Recharge plug-in hybrid.

Sales of the plug-in version of the XC60 increased 37.5% year on year, with this model ultimately accounting for almost a quarter of all PHEV registrations in the country in 2023. Its XC90 sibling, meanwhile, posted even more impressive year-on-year growth, surging 87.1%.

In the EV segment, it was the XC40 Recharge that took the best-selling title in 2023, climbing from third position in the prior year. Sales of the fully electric XC40 – which was named the best New Energy Vehicle at the 2023 Old Mutual Insure South African Car of the Year (COTY) competition – more than tripled year on year, resulting in a substantial 16.6% share of the total EV market.

“South Africa’s new-energy vehicle market continues to gain traction, with Volvo’s plug-in hybrids and fully electric cars at the very forefront of that growth. Our sustained sales dominance in these two segments is particularly encouraging when one considers the recent influx of new competitors to this space. With the EX30 set to launch very soon, we have big ambitions for 2024,” said Greg Maruszewski, Managing Director at Volvo Car South Africa.

Both the XC60 and XC90 Recharge plug-in hybrids – which are each available locally in a choice of four generously equipped derivatives – combine an efficient turbocharged petrol engine with a rear-mounted electric motor fed by an upgraded 18.8 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Total system outputs stand at a lofty 340 kW and 709 Nm in each case.

In addition to strong levels of performance, the XC60 Recharge plug-in powertrain offers 81 km of all-electric range, while the XC90 Recharge plug-in hybrid delivers up to 77 km of likewise zero-emission driving (both figures based on WLTP data).

The XC40 Recharge, meanwhile, is available in either Single Motor Plus or Twin Motor Ultimate guise, with the rear-driven derivative generating 175 kW/330 Nm and the all-wheel-drive variant churning out 300 kW/660 Nm.

Every derivative in Volvo Car SA’s line-up features some form of electrification, ranging from mild hybrids to PHEVs and EVs. This is in line with Volvo’s goal of half its global sales volume comprising fully electric cars by 2025, with the remainder taking the form of hybrids. By 2030, the Swedish luxury firm plans for every new vehicle it sells to be completely electric, demonstrating its steadfast commitment to a zero-emission future.

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