Volvo Cars have laid out its future roadmap during its recent Volvo Cars Tech Moment event as it transitions into a full-fledged electric vehicle manufacturer by 2030. The first-glimpse of its future strategy and technologies now comes alive with the Volvo Concept Recharge, a manifesto for the next generation of all-electric Volvos.
The Recharge Concept previews the concept of an SUV underpinned by a completely new electric-only platform – as opposed to its first generation of electric vehicles (such as the XC40 Recharge), which were underpinned by a platform that could accommodate both electric and conventional powertrains.
By removing the engine and replacing it with a full battery pack under the flat floor, the designers have extended the wheelbase and the wheel size of the car. The result is shorter overhangs and a lot more interior space, including a large storage area between the front seats.
True to Volvo’s heritage of Scandinavian design, Concept Recharge has the mantra of 'less but better' at its core, which allowed designers to evolve the car's SUVs proportions to be bigger than ever while also improving aerodynamic efficiency.
In the Concept Recharge, greater flexibility with the platform has allowed designers to reposition the seats, optimise the roof profile and lower the hood of the car while retaining the high-riding position loved by SUV buyers. This approach is claimed to create efficiency gains in aerodynamics compared to a typical SUV, which in turn improves driving range.
The Concept Recharge also introduces a new Volvo design language. Continuing the theme of 'less but better, all unnecessary elements have been removed and what remains are streamlined and flushed surfaces all around the vehicle. The traditional grille has been replaced with a shield-like structure, supported by a new interpretation of Volvo Cars’ Thor’s Hammer headlight design.
These include the latest HD technology-enabled pure graphic, which opens at night to reveal the main lamp units. Round the back, signature vertical rear lamps connect to the brand’s strong design heritage but are reimagined with a set of wings that extend at higher cruising speeds to further improve overall aerodynamics.
On the inside, the new platform allows for a fully flat floor which enhances occupant room. The central focal point is a large 15-inch standing touch screen, which features a new and improved user experience for the company’s next-generation connected infotainment system.
Robin Page, Volvo’s Head of Design adds, “The interior integrates our latest user experience technology with beautiful, sustainable and natural materials. Each part of the interior is like a piece of art and could stand alone as individual furniture in a room. We use the latest technologies but not for their own sake. We always focus on the benefits that technologies can bring.”
Finally and perhaps most importantly, are the improvements in safety that the Concept Recharge brings. A new LiDAR sensor, (built by technology company Luminar) forms a critical component of Volvo Cars’ next-generation safety and autonomous drive technology. The sensor is placed in an optimal position on the roof to collect data on the environment around the car.