New Volvo Concept Recharge previews firm’s all-electric future

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Volvo has revealed a new concept car called Concept Recharge, which it calls a “manifesto” for its next generation of all-electric models.

It represents a significant shift in EV design for the brand, which until now has only produced all-electric models based directly or heavily on internal combustion-engined vehicles – the XC40 Recharge and the new C40. The Recharge shows how Volvo will be able to introduce new proportions to its models, when cars using a new dedicated all-electric platform go into production, starting with the next-generation XC90.

“Our Concept Recharge represents a manifesto for the all-electric future of Volvo Cars, as well as a new type of vehicle,” explains Robin Page, Head of Design at Volvo.

“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 Concept Recharge 2021 6 1No proportions have been revealed, but while the Concept Recharge rides tall like the company’s family of XC-badged SUVs, the body shape lends itself more to a large, high-riding estate car than an SUV, with a tall belt line and a noticeably slim daylight opening.

In particular, Volvo points to the position of the wheels; the wheelbase itself is almost as long as the body, with tiny front and rear overhangs, to maximise interior space. The floor is entirely flat, with the battery integrated underneath it.

Volvo Concept Recharge 2021 8 1Concept Recharge also introduces Volvo’s next-generation design language, so is a preview of vehicles to come, beyond the next XC90.

The Volvo grille has been replaced as it is no longer needed to cool the engine. In its place is a new ‘shield’ structure, which is flanked by reimagined versions of the ‘Thor’s Hammer’ headlights used on existing Volvos.

Volvo Concept Recharge 2021 3 1At the back, the flat rear end uses vertically integrated taillights – a nod to Volvo’s heritage – but with new integrated aerodynamic wings that extend at speed, for greater aero efficiency.

The Concept Recharge is also a preview of what to expect inside Volvo’s next-generation models, and has been created with a full interior. The layout has been built up from the completely flat floor, and Page describes the interior as a “Scandinavian living room,” relying on the use of sustainable and natural materials.

Volvo Concept Recharge 2021 5 1The centre piece is a huge new 15-inch standing touchscreen, which is home to Volvo’s next-generation ‘Volvo OS’ infotainment system.

Concept Recharge is also a preview of what’s to come on the autonomy and safety technology side from Volvo – not just exterior and interior design. The roof is equipped with a Lidar sensor built by specialist Luminar, and Volvo says that the technology is a “critical” part of its plans for future autonomous driving features.

James Brodie

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