The Concept Recharge electric car visualises Volvo Cars’ path towards sustainable mobility

While it has been labelled a manifesto for Volvo Cars’ future, the all-electric Concept Recharge does much more than showcase the company’s future design language and product strategy.

With the Concept Recharge, Volvo Cars are demonstrating the steps it will take in all areas of pure electric vehicle (EV) development to reduce its cars’ and its overall carbon footprint.

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The company plans to sell only fully electric cars by 2030 and aims to be a climate-neutral and circular business by 2040. Volvo have seen pure electric vehicle (EV) sales increase an incredible 456,525% globally for the first 10 months of the year compared to 2020.

Volvo are always striving to be better and produce more sustainably efficient cars. By using sustainable materials inside the car, equipping it with tyres from recycled and renewable material, improving aerodynamics and through other measures, Volvo Cars can take huge steps to reduce its carbon impact through the car itself.

When combining this with the use of clean energy throughout a decarbonised supply chain, manufacturing process and use phase of the car, Volvo Cars believes it can massively reduce a car’s lifecycle CO2 impact.

This could be by 80 percent versus a 2018 Volvo XC60, without losing the inherent qualities and safety features that Volvo cars have become known for. This would mean the Concept Recharge would have an overall lifecycle CO2 impact below 10 tonnes when charged with 100 percent renewable energy.

Owen Ready, Volvo Cars head of strategic and brand design, said: “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.”

Volvo Cars are at the forefront when it comes to working with sustainable and natural materials in its cars. The interior is rich in sustainable materials, both natural and recycled materials. These include responsibly sourced Swedish wool, environmentally responsible textiles and lightweight composites created from natural sources.

Responsibly sourced Swedish wool is also transformed into fully natural breathable cloth, free from additives. This warm and soft material is used in the seat backrest and instrument panel top.

The floor and lower doors are covered by a carpet of 100 percent wool, while seat cushions and touch surfaces are made from an environmentally responsible material that contains Tencel fibres from cellulose. As a result, Volvo designers are reducing the use of plastics in the interior.

On the exterior, the front and rear bumpers along with the sill mouldings consist of flax composite. Using a flax composite both inside and out in this way results in a significant reduction of plastics used.

With the internal combustion engine making way for the pure electric powertrain, tyres play an even more important role. Not only are they crucial for safety but contribute largely to the vehicle’s battery range.

As a result, the Concept Recharge features special tyres made by Pirelli. These are completely free from mineral oil and are made from 94 percent fossil-free materials. These include recycled and renewable materials such as natural rubber, bio-silica, rayon and bio-resin.

The Concept Recharge also improves the environmental credibility of electric sports utility vehicles (SUVs) through efficiency and aerodynamics. It incorporates innovative aerodynamic features that smooth the airflow, a new wheel design, a lower roof and a more upright rear end. This design ultimately improves airflow to increase range.

Ready concluded: “While consumers continue to drive demand for the benefits of SUVs, we are determined to produce cars that offer all the safety and comfort they look for, as well as slash their environmental impact.”

Volvo recently backed up what they say when they signed a zero-emission road transport declaration at COP26 and revealed a groundbreaking internal carbon-pricing mechanism.

Ian Osborne
Ian Osborne
Editor-in-Chief at ElectricDrives

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