Automotive

Volvo utili-wagon concept fast-charges toward 600-mile EV horizon

Volvo utili-wagon concept fast...
Volvo previews its future electric vehicles with the Concept Recharge
Volvo previews its future electric vehicles with the Concept Recharge
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Volvo previews its future electric vehicles with the Concept Recharge
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Volvo previews its future electric vehicles with the Concept Recharge
The Concept Recharge has unique proportions with a long wheelbase, wagon-like roofline, vertical tailgate and short hood
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The Concept Recharge has unique proportions with a long wheelbase, wagon-like roofline, vertical tailgate and short hood
Volvo gives the Concept Recharge a slim, wing-like taillight signature
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Volvo gives the Concept Recharge a slim, wing-like taillight signature
Inside the Volvo Concept Recharge
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Inside the Volvo Concept Recharge
No B pillars, coach doors — a concept car favorite
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No B pillars, coach doors — a concept car favorite
The flat floor and independent seats free up plenty of space to sway legs and swing elbows
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The flat floor and independent seats free up plenty of space to sway legs and swing elbows
Volvo plans to launch an SUV as the first member of its second-gen electric vehicle family
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Volvo plans to launch an SUV as the first member of its second-gen electric vehicle family
The Concept Recharge headlamps look more like actual Thor's hammers thanks to their meatier head and handle over the version on current-gen Volvos
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The Concept Recharge headlamps look more like actual Thor's hammers thanks to their meatier head and handle over the version on current-gen Volvos
Håkan Samuelsson, Volvo Cars CEO, with the Concept Recharge
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Håkan Samuelsson, Volvo Cars CEO, with the Concept Recharge
Volvo says that it will integrate flat, structural battery packs in its third-gen electric vehicles
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Volvo says that it will integrate flat, structural battery packs in its third-gen electric vehicles
One of Volvo's goals for EVs is to add bidirectional charging
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One of Volvo's goals for EVs is to add bidirectional charging
Future Volvo electric cars will employ skateboard-style chassis
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Future Volvo electric cars will employ skateboard-style chassis
Volvo will make LiDAR and other onboard sensors a key component of the data collection that will underpin faster update development and deployment
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Volvo will make LiDAR and other onboard sensors a key component of the data collection that will underpin faster update development and deployment
Volvo will centralize much of its vehicle computing in a NVIDIA core system
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Volvo will centralize much of its vehicle computing in a NVIDIA core system
Volvo is working together with Google to create a safer, streamlined Android infotainment OS that gives drivers the info they need most without distraction
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Volvo is working together with Google to create a safer, streamlined Android infotainment OS that gives drivers the info they need most without distraction
The next-gen Volvo cockpit will include digital instruments, a large infotainment tablet and a head-up display
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The next-gen Volvo cockpit will include digital instruments, a large infotainment tablet and a head-up display
Future in-vehicle tech will also incorporate mobile connectivity
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Future in-vehicle tech will also incorporate mobile connectivity
Volvo has some fun display the components of its electric future like pieces of a model car, ready to be twisted and pulled off and built into a vehicle
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Volvo has some fun display the components of its electric future like pieces of a model car, ready to be twisted and pulled off and built into a vehicle
View gallery - 18 images

Volvo is laying out an ambitious calendar as it moves toward becoming an all-electric premium car brand by 2030. As previewed by the all-new Concept Recharge SUV(ish), the Swedish automaker's next generation of electric vehicles will push toward longer driving ranges, faster, bidirectional charging, and rapidly evolving tech. The Concept Recharge looks quite different from Polestar's future and certainly isn't the prettiest electric car to roll out of the Geely Group, but it represents a step toward giving drivers exactly the type of electric vehicle for which they clamor.

Volvo presented its plans at the Volvo Cars Tech Moment event in Gothenburg this week, focusing attention on how it will mold a new generation of smart, fast-updating electric vehicles that spend more time driving and less time plugged into the charger. The company intends for EVs to make up half its vehicle sales by the middle of this decade, ahead of it becoming a pure-electric brand by 2030.

Volvo isn't merely going electric, it's pushing to develop a series of electric cars that are every bit as convenient and practical as any ICE car. Together with Swedish battery specialist Northvolt, it will more closely pursue lithium-ion battery development, working to achieve 50-percent energy-density gains in support of 621-mile (1,000-km) real-world driving ranges by the latter part of the decade. It will also seek to cut charging times in half and add bidirectional charging capabilities so that electric Volvos can send power back into the grid during peak times and charge during periods of low demand.

One of Volvo's goals for EVs is to add bidirectional charging
One of Volvo's goals for EVs is to add bidirectional charging

"We want to offer our customers sustainable pure electric cars that make their lives easier and more enjoyable. By simplifying the design and integration of our battery cells, we can reduce weight and maximize space, allowing for considerable improvements in battery capacity, range and charging times," said Volvo CTO Henrik Green.

Battery development will be one cornerstone of a vertically integrated strategy in which Volvo brings more of its EV development and engineering in-house. Software is another key component, and Volvo will pull important computer functions from the myriad electronic control units around the vehicle and concentrate them into a single NVIDIA-driven core computing system, which will be introduced in a new model in 2022.

Volvo will make LiDAR and other onboard sensors a key component of the data collection that will underpin faster update development and deployment
Volvo will make LiDAR and other onboard sensors a key component of the data collection that will underpin faster update development and deployment

The centralized computing system will run the all-new VolvoCars.OS and receive over-the-air updates more frequently to quickly evolve and improve cars over time. In developing the updates, Volvo will collect real-time customer driving data collected by sensors that include the high-resolution LiDAR, helping to identify issues and roll out improvements and new features more efficiently. The collected data will lessen development time frames from "years to days," helping move Volvo forward toward its goal of zero collisions.

Customers will be able to choose whether or not to share data, Volvo says.

So as not to leave Tech Moment attendees' heads absolutely swimming in clean, green buzzwords and multi-stage plans that leap years and decades into the future, Volvo added a physical component to its presentation. The Concept Recharge serves as a preview of Volvo's greater plans as well as of a flagship SUV that will lead the company's second-gen EV offensive.

The Concept Recharge has unique proportions with a long wheelbase, wagon-like roofline, vertical tailgate and short hood
The Concept Recharge has unique proportions with a long wheelbase, wagon-like roofline, vertical tailgate and short hood

With a wheelbase kicked out to the edges, a short hood, vertical tailgate and sloped roofline, Concept Recharge strikes us as a mashup of wagon, utility vehicle and four-door sport hatch. That's far from a compliment as far as aesthetics go, but it's promising as the next evolution of roomy, practical SUV, leveraging the decentralized electric powertrain to maximize space and utility.

Inside, Volvo complements the legroom over the flat floor with plenty of elbow room, afforded by four individual seats with side bolsters and wraparound headrests. Each row of seats is split by a large console with cupholders and storage. There's even under-dashboard luggage space augmenting the cargo capacity of the tailgate. Elimination of the B pillars coupled with coach doors creates a wide entry through which you could practically carry a sofa.

The flat floor and independent seats free up plenty of space to sway legs and swing elbows
The flat floor and independent seats free up plenty of space to sway legs and swing elbows

While Volvo doesn't identify the concept's height, it promises a vantage point roughly equivalent to that of existing SUVs like the XC40 and XC90. The driver has less clutter to deal with, eyeing vital driving metrics on a combination of digital instrument panel and head-up display. A next-generation Android OS ties those driver displays together with the floating 15-in infotainment tablet just to the right, providing immediate access to important functions via touch and voice. Volvo will be working with Google on cutting extraneous information, promoting driver attentiveness and safety, and integrating the Android system into the greater VolvoCars.OS architecture.

Back outside, the Recharge loses the expansive front intakes of existing Volvo electrics like the XC40 and C40 Recharge models, gaining a smooth, curved face with central Volvo logo supported by a well-defined crease. The tall, slim intakes at the side direct air around the tires, while thicker Thor's Hammer headlights splash the pavement with light. The prominent LiDAR that features in Volvo's big data plans can be seen rising off the top of the windshield.

The Concept Recharge headlamps look more like actual Thor's hammers thanks to their meatier head and handle over the version on current-gen Volvos
The Concept Recharge headlamps look more like actual Thor's hammers thanks to their meatier head and handle over the version on current-gen Volvos

“Our Concept Recharge represents a manifesto for the all-electric future of Volvo Cars, as well as a new type of vehicle,” said 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.”

Volvo has but a concept for now, but it sounds like it will reveal the first marketable components of its electrification plans in or ahead of 2022.

Source: Volvo

View gallery - 18 images
8 comments
8 comments
Gannet
at last we are getting some wagons, but it looks more luxury than "util-wagon". I hope they have a proper util version
Eddy
Good luck working with Android to stop the annoying messages on screen when you are using driving/mapping aps, like "playstore has stopped working " when your car leaves house wi fi range.
wolf0579
They're creating a security nightmare. What happens when a rouge state wants to cause some mayhem, by "Updating" your car's OS while driving by sending an a "full acceleration" or some other potentially dangerous command to the car? I refuse to buy anything that can't be isolated from over the air updates. Give them to me on a flash drive I can inspect, and then upload to the car if I see no issues.
DavidB
“As far as aesthetics go,” that render may be one of the best-looking large-EV profiles yet.

If driving electric continues to mean driving a tank :( I’m grateful for any EV that doesn’t look like yet another soulless suburban tank.

Of course, anything from Volvo is going to cost a life’s savings, so I’ll probably have to hang on to my nondescript Hyundai Kona EV.
DavidB
@wolf0579:

A. How many Tesla’s have suffered mayhem through hikavked OTA updates? SMH

B. How exactly do you propose to decompile a software update installer to “inspect” it on a USB stick or similar medium? LOL
Baker Steve
Over-the-air software updates sound like an accident waiting to happen. I'm very skeptical indeed about battery powered cars anyway.
Don Duncan
We had a phrase for this kind of "pie in the sky" hype in the '50s, "all show - no go". Plans are not production. However, their goal of "by 2030" is telling. Long before then, Tesla and Aptera will have reached/surpassed them. It's sad, almost comical how clueless the legacy makers CEOs are. 2030? They won't be around.
DaveWesely
@wolf I agree with your rogue state scenario, but how are you going to "inspect" a flash drive, and if you have the expertise to inspect it, how many other users do you think will have those same capabilities? There are far better ways to provide security updates.