Volvo Concept Recharge fully electric SUV: 15 sexiest new features
Car manufacturer Volvo shows off its vision for the next generation of electric vehicles, starting with the Volvo Concept Recharge SUV.
Volvo is a brand that needs no introduction, but the Swedish car manufacturer won't be as instantly recognisable to drivers in a few years as it once was. Not if the company's plans for its next generation SUV come to fruition. On 30 June 2021, the automotive group detailed its future design direction and it's fascinating to say the least.
There were 3 parts to the reveal of the Volvo Concept Recharge.
The Volvo Concept Recharge SUV sets a new standard
The big reveal was the Volvo Concept Recharge. It's not an SUV you will necessarily be able to drive around the streets as it appears in these images, but it is the embodiment of Volvo's design strategy as it moves into the future, the company's statement of intent.
Doesn't it look cool? Certainly! It's a sexier looking future than Tesla's Cybertruck, that's for sure.
The Volvo Concept Recharge is the vision Volvo will aim for when it releases its first SUV, potentially in 2022. It will be fully electric, so won't hedge its bets like the Volvo S60. The Volvo Concept Recharge shows what the company can achieve with the shape and design of its chassis once the space required for a combustion engine is no longer required. All while sticking to the company's mantra of "less but better".
I've recappped the sexiest features below, but highly recommend watching the video above to get a full understanding.
15 best Volvo Concept Recharge features
- Flat floors, which facilitate more cabin and storage space.
- Battery pack sits under the flat floor.
- Longer, wider wheelbase and bigger wheels.
- Repositioned seats that allow for a high eye point thanks to a lowered hood and optimised roof profile.
- Seat cushions can be raised from adult to booster seat size.
- A cabin layout designed like a Swedish loungeroom.
- Shield-like front instead of the grille of non-electric cars.
- Hidden high-definition Thor's hammer lights.
- 15" touchscreen media unit showing fully online infotainment.
- Illuminated, backlit wood trim inside.
- A LIDAR sensor for autonomous driving.
- NVIDIA DRIVE Orin system-on-a-chip powering the autonomous driving features.
- Volvo's new real-time safety features (see below).
- A "less but better" finish with no extraneous details to enable more efficient aerodynamics.
- Firmware upgradeable three-core centralised computing system.
Our Concept Recharge represents a manifesto for the all-electric future of Volvo Cars, as well as a new type of vehicle. It displays new and modern proportions that go hand-in-hand with increased versatility and shows what technology can enable in terms of design.”
VolvoCars.OS to power next-generation SUV
Starting with an as yet unannounced car due for release in 2022, Volvo's fleet of vehicles will be unified under one software umbrella. A new centralised operating system called VolvoCars.OS, which will be the brains of the coming fully electric models.
The move makes sense, although it certainly comes with a fair element of risk. As the vehicles move away from traditional automotive parts to be more reliant on software, then a singular language that talks across all Volvo vehicles should be a benefit to consumers and manufacturer alike. Unless of course something goes wrong, and then the whole fleet is stuffed. But let's not be pessimists.
While fleet wide, the same mentality will be taken into each singular vehicle too. Cars will have a core computing system running VolvoCars.OS, made up of 3 CPUs. They'll govern vision processing and artificial intelligence, general computing and infotainment respectively. And they're being co-developed by tech powerhouse NVIDIA, while an additional partnership has also been organised with Google to enhance the infotainment experience.
The end goal is to one day have a complete separation of hardware and software. Volvo argues this will:
- Ensure a faster evolution to new models in the future.
- Allow over-the-air updates of a car during its lifetime.
- Provide data to send back to in-car feature manufacturers to create new services, apps and improvements.
By developing software in-house we can boost development speeds and improve your Volvo faster than we can today. Just like on your smartphone or computer, new software and features can be rolled out swiftly through over-the-air updates, making your Volvo better and even more enjoyable over time.”
Volvo to improve safety with real-time data.
Finally, we have Volvo's new approach to safety. And let's remember, this is from a company that is world renowned for its safety features. While we can always expect evolution with traditional safety measures, the new generation of Volvos, inspired by the Volvo Concept Recharge, will benefit from their software analysing real-time data.
Assuming customers opt to share their car's data.
If they do, various sensors monitoring the environment, including the high-resolution LiDAR, will continuously send information back to the centralised VolvoCars.OS computer. Then safety improvements will be sent back to the car. The collective data from all the cars would also fuel quick and valuable improvements to autonomous drive features.
All this information will be housed in new purpose-built data factories with the help of Zenseact, Volvo Cars' autonomous driving software arm. Together these factories will be able to hold 225 million gigabytes of data. What will be interesting, of course, is how this system will work through Australia's spotty reception.
We can't wait to add the Volvo SUV review to our list.
With help from real-life data we can speed up our development processes and go from years to days. As real-time collection generates a lot more data, we can create better and higher-quality data sets that allow us to make better and quicker decisions on the next advancements in safety. We're taking a giant leap to increase safety in and around our cars."”