The top speed of every new Volvo starting in 2020 will be 112 MPH, the company announced today. This is part of Volvo’s aim to eliminate all fatalities in its cars by 2020, along and other measures that the Swedish automaker is considering imposing, such as an automatic speed restriction in school zones.
Back in 2014, Volvo introduced this Zero Fatality goal under the name “Vision 2020.” That deadline has been creeping up fast and now the company says in this press release that it will impose a 112 MPH (180 kph) speed limit on all of its cars starting next year. For reference, the T6 and T8 variants of the XC90 and S90 are rated at 143 MPH and 155 MPH, respectively. So that’s a pretty big drop.
Lots of other automakers impose top speed limits on their cars, and 112 MPH isn’t really that slow for vehicles that aren’t exactly designed for the track. So, who all will care about this change? Probably nobody except a few Germans who have gotten used to cruising the left lanes of the Autobahn at 155 MPH, left hands always ready to yank their high-beam flashers to part the seas of Ford B-Maxes and VW Golfs.
As you have already likely surmised, limiting top speeds is far from unusual. The top German automakers, for example, historically kept a “gentlemen’s agreement” limiting their vehicles’ top speeds to 155 MPH.
Still, it’s a limit that Volvo says will help solve the first of the three main areas of concern in driving today: speeding, driving while intoxicated, and driving while distracted. Volvo says it will present some ideas on the latter two at an event later this month, but as for the speed issue, the company breaks down why this new limit matters:
The problem with speeding is that above certain speeds, in-car safety technology and smart infrastructure design are no longer enough to avoid severe injuries and fatalities in the event of an accident. That is why speed limits are in place in most western countries, yet speeding remains ubiquitous and one of the most common reasons for fatalities in traffic.
Millions of people still get speeding tickets every year and traffic accident data from the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration shows that 25 per cent of all traffic fatalities in the US in 2017 were caused by speeding.
Volvo even says it’s considering using “smart speed control and geofencing” to force cars to slow down in school zones and near hospitals.
The company’s president, Håkan Samuelsson, admits that this isn’t a “cure-all,” and while there’s been some debate over the years over the role that outright speed has on traffic safety, I really don’t see anyone complaining about a 112 MPH top speed. Except those few German left-lane hoggers, of course. But they probably drive BMWs.