With the Volvo XC40 Electric P8, the Swedes already have an electric SUV in their hands, but the Volvo Concept Recharge is the first model from the Swedish manufacturer that is designed purely as an EV. For this reason, the car floor could remain completely flat. Eliminating the need to keep space for a traditional drivetrain meant that the nose could be kept short, as were the front and rear overhangs. A logical consequence is a longer wheelbase. All in all, there is more space left for the occupants and their luggage, and it also makes better aerodynamics possible.
More space than electric XC40
The entire battery pack is located under the vehicle floor, which not only ensures efficient use of space, but also a low center of gravity. This in turn contributes to good road holding.
New design language
Because there is no longer an internal combustion engine, the traditional grille could also be absent. In combination with the well-known Volvo logo and the accompanying diagonal strip, this creates a nose that is reminiscent of a coat of arms. Volvo announces that all new models will have a similar design. Not illogical when you consider that Volvo – if everything goes according to plan – will only build fully electric cars from 2030. The headlamps with the hammer-shaped LEDs remain. We doubt whether the production version of the Concept Recharge also gets hinged rear doors wrong.
Display like Tesla
In addition to a lot of room to move, the interior of the new generation Volvos also offers quite a bit of modified styling. The most eye-catching element is the centrally placed 15-inch display. With regards to Tesla – better stolen well than badly invented yourself, they will think at Volvo … Unlike the Tesla Model 3, the Volvo Concept Recharge also has a small set of instruments in front of the driver’s nose. As is also the case with the Tesla Model S and Model X.
Pine and Billy cabinets?
For the information technology Volvo works closely with Google, but for the atmosphere and decoration of the interior the Swedes go back to their own tradition of Scandinavian design. They say that they use natural and recycled materials. The interior of the car should evoke the atmosphere of a Scandinavian living room, according to design chief Alain Page. We think of a lot of pinewood and white Billy cabinets, but Page probably has something else in mind.
Volvo brings fully autonomous driving closer
In order to optimally prepare its cars for fully autonomous driving, Volvo is equipping them with lidar technology in the roof in the future. It uses laser radar, which, according to safety director Håkan Samuelsson, provides more reliable data than cameras and traditional radar. According to Volvo, the expensive lidar technology pays off especially under conditions with poor visibility and/or heavy traffic.
Electric Volvos with range up to 1000 km
Especially if, like Volvo, you want to switch completely to electric cars within a relatively short time, it is important that you tackle the Achilles heel of EVs. Many would-be buyers still have range fears, but Volvo claims that by using new solid state batteries it can extend the range to 1000 kilometers. Solid state batteries contain no liquid and have a higher energy density. As a result, fewer cells are needed for the same capacity. For example, a car manufacturer can choose: do I make a lighter, smaller car with a current range, or do I give a car extra battery capacity and therefore a longer range without it becoming too heavy? An additional advantage of solid state batteries is that they do not require manganese and cobalt. These are materials that are often extracted under appalling conditions and are becoming increasingly scarce due to the energy transition. Also good news: solid-state batteries are less flammable than lithium-ion batteries.
Charging times halved
The Swedes expect that the new battery technology will be ready for production at the end of this decade. Before that happens, Volvo will be improving the technology of its existing lithium-ion batteries in collaboration with the Swedish battery manufacturer Northvolt. Volvo also expects charging times for electric cars to be halved within five years. This removes a second important barrier that still prevents people from buying an electric car.