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Volvo Concept Recharge previews next-gen XC90: Swedish taxi set to get EV-led design revolution to take on Tesla

The Volvo Concept Recharge previews the upcoming new XC90.

Volvo has unveiled its future. The Concept Recharge is a tease at what we can expect when the all-new XC90 debuts in the coming years, making the switch to battery electric power on an all-new platform that allows for a styling revolution for the Swedish brand.

Revealed overnight the Concept Recharge previews the brand’s new EV architecture, which unlike the platform currently used for the XC40 Recharge, is built from the ground up as a bespoke EV. That will allow Volvo to do away with legacy elements of its petrol-powered models, including engine bays and transmission tunnels that compromise its design, to create a more holistic vehicle, according to head of design, Robin Page.

“Our Concept Recharge represents a manifesto for the all-electric future of Volvo Cars, as well as a new type of vehicle,” Page explained. “It displays new and modern proportions that go hand-in-hand with increased versatility and shows what technology can enable in terms of design.”

Concept Recharge has been designed under a philosophy of ‘less but better’ with Page and his designers creating a new shape of SUV, which retains the same elevated seating position customers enjoy but with a more aerodynamic shape and a more spacious cabin. For example, by placing the battery pack under the floor, it has allowed for a longer wheelbase while keeping the front and rear overhangs short.

By extending the wheelbase the interior room has been increased which has allowed for a total cabin redesign. Obviously being a concept that means some boundaries have been pushed, with the interior only having four individual seats and what appears to be a removable bag instead of a centre console, but elements such as the 15-inch touchscreen on the centre preview the next-generation of in-car infotainment.

“Inside the Concept Recharge, we create a truly Scandinavian living room feeling,” Page said. “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.”

The switch to EV has also meant changes to Volvo’s traditional grille, which has been replaced by what the company calls “a shield-like structure” flanked by an evolution of its ‘Thor’s Hammer’ headlight design.

Also noticeable is the LiDAR sensor that is integrated into the roof. This is part of Volvo’s plans to develop safe autonomous driving by accumulating as much real-world data as possible.

While it’s officially only a concept, this is a preview of the all-new XC90 that’s due to launch in Europe in 2022. It will get the production version of this new generation EV platform which, like the brand’s current modular architecture, will be scalable. So expect elements of the Concept Recharge to filter down to the new XC60 and possibly the S60/V60 and other models.