Volvo’s Tech Moment was Wednesday morning, a day when the company spent hours talking about the electric and semiautonomous technology it is working on and a day not at all inspired by Tesla’s Battery Day. Volvo also unveiled a new electric concept, too.
The car is called the Concept Recharge, and while not a production model, you can expect that Volvo’s next-generation of cars — it says it’ll be all electric by 2030 — will be modeled on it. It has the familiar skateboard design of an EV, with the batteries positioned on a flat surface beneath the floor. The doors in the back are rear-hinged.
Versions of this car will, presumably, go head to head with the Tesla Model Y, X, S, and 3 at some point. Because this is Volvo, the company thought a lot about lighting and interior space.
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, as well as a lot more interior space including a large storage area between the front seats.
In the Concept Recharge these advancements have led designers to reposition the seats, optimise the roof profile and lower the hood of the car while retaining the high eye point beloved by drivers of cars like the Volvo XC40, XC60 and XC90. This approach creates efficiency gains in aerodynamics compared to a typical SUV, which improves range.
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 open at night to reveal the main lamp units.
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.
The Concept Recharge also has lidar, which Volvo thinks is a big safety improvement as it strives for zero collisions; lidar is one notable difference of opinion Volvo has with Tesla.
Volvo made several tech announcements Wednesday morning, including that it would study data from its new electric cars in real-time to improve safety if customers so choose, which sounds a lot like what Tesla does with Autopilot.
At some point during its presentation a Volvo guy said that 900 miles of range could be possible in the next-generation of Volvo EVs, thanks to new battery and charging tech. Volvo will also keep working with Google and have things like Google Assistant and Google Maps in its next-gen EVs while also developing the OS for those EVs in-house.
The only thing that’s a little bit curious here is that final bit, as Volvo should probably just have an actual software company (Google?) make the OS but I admire Volvo’s ambition.
Still, we should start seeing the fruits of all of this sometime next year, in the form of a new all-electric XC90 and/or an all-electric XC100, the flagships to its whole line. Let me know when Volvo makes an electric V40, that’s when I’m getting in.