The pure electric Volvo Concept Recharge is back in the news as the automaker says it does more than just showcase the company’s future design language. The design study offers details about its product strategy as the brand plans to go all-electric by 2030.
The automaker says efficiency is the name of the game going forward, and the Concept Recharge showcases several ways of making EVs more efficient and sustainable.
“As we enter the age of the electric car, how far you can drive on a full charge will be a key consideration. The easy approach is to add more batteries, but it is not the same as simply adding a bigger fuel tank today – batteries add weight and increase carbon footprint. Instead we have to increase overall efficiency to increase range. With Concept Recharge we explore the tension between the need for efficiency and the desire for the same space, convenience and driving experience as in today’s SUVs.”
Owen Ready, Head of Strategic and Brand Design at Volvo Cars
The focus on aerodynamics is one way to achieve more efficiency, with the concept car incorporating innovative features such as exterior design details that smooth the airflow, a new wheel design, a lower roof, and a more upright rear end. This results in an improved airflow, which in turn increases driving range.
Gallery: Volvo Concept Recharge
A great deal of attention was paid to the tires as well, and in this case they are special tyres made by Pirelli without using any mineral oil. They are made from 94% fossil-free materials, including recycled and renewable materials like natural rubber, bio-silica, rayon and bio-resin, to reduce resource consumption and environmental impact.
Inside, there's an even more abundant use of sustainable materials, both natural and recycled. Those include “responsibly sourced Swedish wool, environmentally responsible textiles and lightweight composites created from natural sources.” For example, as a way to cut back on plastics, both exterior and interior components are made of flax composite, which contains fibres from the linseed plant.
“With the Concept Recharge, we’ve created a comfortable and functional family space. The cabin offers sophisticated forms through the use of natural materials and the harmonization of textures and tones, reflecting the timeless elegance of premium Scandinavian design.”
Lisa Reeves, Head of Interior Design
While no powertrain details are available, Volvo says the Concept Recharge demonstrates the steps it will take in all areas of pure electric car development to reduce its cars’ and its overall carbon footprint—the company aims to be a climate neutral and circular business by 2040.
Interestingly, Volvo believes it can reduce a car’s lifecycle CO2 impact by 80% versus a 2018 Volvo XC60, by combining those steps with the use of clean energy throughout a decarbonised supply chain, manufacturing process and use phase of the car.
As a result, the Concept Recharge would have an overall life cycle CO2 impact below 10 tonnes, when charged with 100% renewable energy.