Thus far, Volvo's electric ambitions have been rooted in vehicles that strike a compromise between pure electric and internal combustion power. Creating a single platform accommodating both powertrains makes sense from a financial standpoint, but it doesn't take full advantage of the benefits that simplified EV systems offer. With its new Concept Recharge, Volvo showcases its vision for a motoring future where those advantages are fully realised.
In fact, Volvo feels this concept is a very big deal for the company, going so far as to call it a "manifesto for Volvo Cars' pure electric future." As such, the Concept Recharge isn't just a flight-of-fancy – it previews the brand's new design language dubbed less but better, signifying all the things a pure EV doesn't need like a traditional grille or a raised floor to make room for driveshafts or exhaust systems.
Gallery: Volvo Concept Recharge
"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."
With regards to the concept, that means a completely flat floor with an extended wheelbase that moves front and rear wheels to the corners, creating less overhang and significantly more interior room. Such things aren't revolutionary in the EV world, but Volvo does embrace the minimalist approach with the Recharge Concept's interior with a 15-inch centre display and a small digital instrument screen handing all interface needs for the occupants.
"Inside the Concept Recharge, we create a truly Scandinavian living room feeling," said Page. "The interior integrates our latest user experience technology with beautiful, sustainable, and natural materials. Each part of the interior is like a piece of art and could stand alone as individual furniture in a room. We use the latest technologies but not for their own sake. We always focus on the benefits that technologies can bring."
Despite the new design approach, the Recharge Concept maintains a distinctive appearance that identifies it as a Volvo. The grille is replaced by a shield bearing Volvo's familiar logo, with a modern interpretation of the company's Thor's Hammer headlight shape at the corners. The bonnet slopes low for improved aerodynamics, but Volvo retains an SUV-like ride height and a taller vantage point for drivers. Though SUVs like the XC60 and XC90 are mentioned in reference to the Recharge Concept, we also see all kinds of Volvo wagon DNA in its shape.
Volvo doesn't offer any information on performance or range for this new concept. Rather, its purpose is to preview the pure electric future for the company from a standpoint of design.
"With the Concept Recharge we continue the rich roots of Volvo's design DNA in a modern and fresh way as we move into our all-electric future," explained Page. "It represents everything we believe customers expect from a pure electric Volvo and we’re excited to take this philosophy into our next generation of cars."