Volvo dipped its toes in the EV pool with the XC40 Recharge and the coupe-styled C40 Recharge, both of which have their origins in platforms originally intended for combustion-engined cars. Unveiled today, Concept Recharge previews a dedicated electric vehicle on a bespoke platform wrapped in a new design to better suit the brand’s EV-focused strategy.
The production version debuting next year will pave the way for a new era of electric models from Volvo and it will take the shape of a flagship SUV molded after the Concept Recharge. The Geely-owned marque says it will have a proper name rather than being called XC90 Recharge or the long-rumored XC100.
By riding on a dedicated electric platform without the limitations of a combustion-engined vehicle, Volvo’s engineers are able to shorten the overhangs to maximize wheelbase for greater interior legroom. Without having to cool down a gasoline or diesel engine, the designers removed the front grille, replacing it with a “shield-like structure” flanked by a fresh take on the corporate Thor’s Hammer headlights.
An impressively flat rear end accommodates extended taillights – a signature design trait for Volvos – that form an “L” with the horizontal light strip on the tailgate. At higher speeds, there’s a set of wings extending to increase the SUV’s aerodynamic efficiency, further improved by the gently sweptback shape of the roof.
Concept Recharge is also a window into future Volvo interiors, which will be fitted with a fully digital instrument cluster accompanied by a portrait-oriented touchscreen display measuring a generous 15 inches. The concept’s suicide doors are unlikely to make it to production, but that roof-mounted LiDAR sensor will come as standard equipment.
With the minimalist interior, Volvo is going for a “truly Scandinavian living room feeling” by using natural and sustainable materials. While the Concept Recharge features a four-seat layout, expect the subsequent production model to have five or more seats. We’re hoping the massive sunroof will find its way on the road-going electric SUV to make the cabin feel airy.
Volvo’s target is to become an EV-only brand by the end of the decade, and to make that happen, several zero-emissions models are in the pipeline. Beyond the XC40 / C40 Recharge and the production version of the Concept Recharge, there are plans to give the next-gen XC60 an EV version, with wagons and sedans also set to lose their combustion engines sooner or later.
Volvo is already working on tech that will enable its future EVs to cover as much as 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) in the real world by achieving a 1000 Wh/l energy density milestone. It has teamed up with Swedish battery company Northvolt in a joint effort to increase the energy density in its batteries by 50% compared to current battery packs.