Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson told Autocar in January 2022 that Volvo cars would be less boxy in the future and have less wind resistance. He revealed that the brand’s current S and V line-ups (Volvo S60, V60, S90, V90) would be replaced with models featuring more attractive designs. Despite the plummeting popularity of station wagons and sedans compared to SUVs, the CEO has confirmed the arrival of successors to the S and V cars.
The Swedish carmaker has announced plans to go all-electric by 2030, and newer models are expected to benefit from a highly aerodynamic design. Aero-optimized designs reduce wind resistance and can improve driving range. As a result, their drag (cd) coefficient is less, and batteries can last longer. The brand’s design head Robin Page told EV Central in June 2021 that the wagon would mark a significant evolution in design language and body proportions.
Despite the surge in SUV demand, Page said that there are customers who prefer the practicality of a wagon with its large boot and roomy interior. He added that there’s no more need for large hoods and open grilles with electric powertrains and EV-specific platforms. He reiterated the brand’s focus on interior room. He mentioned the possibility of ‘foot garages,’ where the battery is divided to allow improved leg space at the rear. He also stated enhanced use of natural materials.
Volvo’s EV Strategy
In a press statement on March 2, 2021, Samuelsson mentioned that the internal combustion engine technology would not have scope in the future, and the brand wants to invest in electric powertrains. The brand would sell only electric cars from 2030, and by 2025, 50% of its portfolio would comprise BEVs.
In December 2021, the brand announced a partnership with NorthVolt, Sweden’s premier battery company. Volvo would also invest SEK 30 billion (USD 3.1 billion) for a joint research and development center in Gothenburg, Sweden. The R&D center, expected to be operational later this year, will make in-roads into battery technology development for the brand’s next-generation cars. The center will use 100% clean energy to manufacture batteries.
Towards the end of this decade, the company would aim to reach its target of making a battery that can run for 621 miles (1000 km). The energy density of this battery would be 1000 Wh/l, double what current batteries are capable of. The R&D center would also make charging technology innovations and help significantly bring charging times down so that customers don’t have to wait for hours before their EV is ready to drive again after battery depletion.
Announced in mid-2021, the Volvo Concept Recharge is the brand’s vision of its future cars and what they’ll offer in terms of technology and powertrain. The production version may be called the Embla, but there’s no official announcement yet.
It’s based on a dedicated EV platform, and its interior is aplenty with sustainable materials. There’s a relentless focus on interior space and digitization. Volvo is a pioneer of safety—its 3-point seatbelt patent was made available for broader adoption for free in the 1960s—and all its modern cars are some of the safest in the world. The approach would be carried onto the next generation of Volvo cars with systems like LiDAR and Level 3 self-driving capabilities.
Featured image: Volvo concept by Lukasz Myszynski, via Behance