So far, Volvo has electrified its entire model range with liberal use of hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains, and has two full EVs in the shape of the XC40 Recharge, and C40 Recharge. Whilst its two current EVs are fantastic in their own right, Volvo is promising to move things onwards with the EX90.
Firstly, it will bring an entirely new design language to the brand. Sharper, less fussy and with a focus on maximising interior space, the expectation is that the EX90 will bear more than a passing resemblance to the Concept Recharge. On this, the Swedish brand talked about a new shield at the front end of the car which would house an array of new safety and assistance tech which falls very much in line with what we know about the EX90. Familiar elements like the Thor’s hammer headlights will likely remain in a revised format.
Something else which is brand new will be the platform upon which the car is based. Called SPA2 (Scalable Product Architecture), it is an EV-only base which will be used on both Volvo and Polestar models and will provide the flexibility to underpin any EV version of its current product line-up. Think EX60 to replace the XC60, and even some of the large saloons such as the S80.
So far, we don’t know anything about the powertrain side of things for the EX90. Instead, Volvo has been very active in explaining how it is developing human-machine interfaces (HMI), as well as the safety and assistance systems which the brand has traditionally been at the forefront of.
It’s a bit woolly, but Volvo is trying to develop the EX90 to ‘understand’ the driver and occupants, as well as their surroundings, developing over time to learn habits and behaviours. Volvo’s aim is; “…to help you be a better driver and reduce the risk of a crash happening. The Volvo EX90 comes with an invisible shield of safety that includes our latest sensing technology, allowing the car to understand your state of mind and the world around you.”
How this will be achieved includes a mixture of cameras, radars, LiDAR and core computing which helps the car develop a 360-degree image of the world around. The company rightly points out sensors don’t get tired or lose concentration, and it reckons that they can reduce accidents which cause death or serious injury by 20 per cent, and overall crash avoidance by nine per cent.
Its LiDAR tech, for example, can ‘see’ pedestrians up to 250m ahead and pick out small details 120 metres ahead. Unlike cameras, LiDAR works both day and night, too.
This tech doesn’t just look outside the car. Interior cameras monitor gaze patterns and look out for signs of distraction, whilst the capacitive steering wheel monitors the driver’s grip and inputs, bringing in assistance systems where required, or alert systems to simply remind the driver to keep their eyes on the road. If a driver becomes incapacitated, the car can even stop by the side of the road and turn the hazard lights on without human input.
We expect the interior itself to create a lounge-like ambience, with a central 15 inch touchscreen and infotainment powered by Android. Clean lines and extensive use of sustainable and natural materials is also promised.
All of this tech will feed into Volvo’s plans to be an EV-only carmaker by 2030.
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