2021 Volvo Recharge all-electric concept car looks like it’s gunning for Tesla
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GOTHENBURG - According to Volvo Cars, electrification is more than simply a shift in powertrains. It represents a new paradigm in car design for the company and the Volvo Concept Recharge is a manifesto for the next generation of all-electric Volvo vehicles, they claim. Shown earlier today for the first time in an exclusive online unveiling, true to the heritage of Scandinavian design, the Volvo Concept Recharge embraces the mantra of 'less but better' at its core.
For instance, by removing the complexity of the internal combustion engine, the car’s designers have been able to evolve its proportions to increase interior space while also improving aerodynamic efficiency. Volvo believes that the result of all this is a vehicle that offers genuinely better solutions to support a sustainable family life.
Volvo’s first generation of electric cars such as the XC40 shares a floor with combustion engine-powered cars, which requires a balance in proportions and space to be able to accommodate both a battery pack and an internal combustion engine. The next generation of Volvo’s fully electric cars – the first of which is the company’s first SUV on a completely new electric-only technology base – will feature flat floors, as previewed in this Concept Recharge.
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, they say.
This concept car also introduces a new Volvo design language. Continuing the theme of 'less but better', all unnecessary elements have been removed and what remains is treated with a high-precision, flush execution. 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 re-imagined with a set of wings that extend at higher cruising speeds to further improve overall aerodynamics.
“Our Concept Recharge represents the future for the all-electric future of Volvo Cars, as well as a new type of vehicle,” says Robin Page, head of design. “It displays new and modern proportions that go hand-in-hand with increased versatility and shows what technology can enable in terms of design.”
The Volvo design language also takes a new form inside the Concept Recharge. The flat floor provides more space and a better seating position for all those inside the car. A large, 38cm standing touch screen is the centre of a new and improved user experience for the company’s next-generation connected infotainment system. Designed to be logical and intuitive to use, technology helps provide a serene and calm experience.
The latest infotainment technology goes hand in hand with those other hallmarks of Scandinavian design: clean lines and extensive use of sustainable and natural materials inside the cabin. “Inside the Concept Recharge, we create a truly Scandinavian living room feeling,” Page 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, the Concept Recharge also reflects Volvo Cars’ safety ambitions in coming years. A LiDAR sensor, built by technology company Luminar and a critical part of Volvo Cars’ plan for forthcoming safe autonomous drive technology, is placed in an optimal position on the roof to collect data on the environment around the car. “With the Concept Recharge we continue the rich roots of Volvo's design DNA in a modern and fresh way as we move into our all-electric future,” concludes Page. “It represents everything we believe customers expect from a pure electric Volvo and we’re excited to take this philosophy into our next generation of cars.”
Volvo SA hasn’t confirmed yet, however, we expect the production version of this vehicle to arrive in South Africa in 2023 so you better start saving up now if you want one.