The secret, super-rare star of Volvo's range, beloved by enthusiasts and more scarce on the streets than a supercar, is coming to an end. The Volvo V90 won't be making it to 2022, at least not in the US, and for wagon fans it's a reminder that tastes change and it can take more than just Swedish style to address that.
Volvo has revealed its new vision of an all-electric SUV, with the Volvo Concept Recharge teasing just what the Swedish automaker could do once gas engines are out of the equation. Although the Recharge brand is already on the road, now with the XC40 Recharge electric crossover and soon to be joined by the C40 Recharge, combustion engines have still had a lingering impact on their design.
Volvo expects its electric vehicles to get close to double the range with its third-generation 800V battery architecture, though that's unlikely to arrive until the middle of the decade the automaker says. Before that, Volvo plans to transition to its second-gen EV platform, beginning with the new Volvo XC90 SUV which is expected to debut in 2022 along with a bevy of new electric and autonomous features.
Volvo has big EV and autonomous vehicle plans, and it's bringing software development in-house to deliver it sooner rather than later. The automaker revealed VolvoCars.OS today, its own operating system that will power a new generation of electric vehicles that offer unsupervised self-driving features on certain roads.
Volvo is readying an all-electric luxury SUV, with the successor to the XC90 combining an EV drivetrain with a new autonomous driving system. It's expected to be the first model to be based on Volvo's new SPA2 platform, an instrumental part of the automaker's shift to full electrification.
If electric vehicles are to gain the sort of traction automakers have in mind, they'll need plenty of batteries, and plans for a new "gigafactory" for EV cells could help deliver that. Volvo is inking a deal with Swedish battery specialist Northvolt for more sustainable power cells, earmarked for future Volvo and Polestar cars and SUVs.
Volvo confirmed in March that it was committed to producing only electric vehicles by 2030 and to move to an online-only sales strategy in the same timeframe. The automaker is now doubling down on going green with the announcement that it is the first automaker to explore fossil-free steel with a Swedish steel manufacturer called SSAB. Volvo is the first automaker to work with SSAB and its HYBRIT initiative.
It takes a certain type of person to buy a 2021 Volvo V90 Cross Country. I'm not entirely sure if it's a matter of self-assurance, or the sort of rationality and awareness that some of us need a decade of therapy to get close to, but in a sea of SUVs this almost-wagon has a quiet confidence it's hard to ignore.
Rarity is enticing, but hit the road in some parts of the US in your brand new supercar and it's unexpectedly easy to feel like you're just part of the crowd. In LA or New York it's not strange to find an exotic on every corner, and if you thought your six-figure special was going to impress the car cognoscenti you'll be sorely disappointed. For true exclusivity you need something nobody else is really buying, and for that you may need to look to Sweden.
Volvo plans to bake NVIDIA's DRIVE chipsets for autonomous and smart cars into its next-generation platform, with the first fruit of that partnership to be revealed in 2022. The next-generation Volvo XC90 luxury SUV will use NVIDIA DRIVE Orin for its self-driving system, the chip-maker confirmed today at its GTC 2021 conference.
It's not unreasonable to suggest that Volvo owes a fair amount of its current prestige to the XC90. In 2021 XC90 T8 Recharge form, the plug-in hybrid three-row SUV is the de-facto flagship of the Swedish automaker's range in North America, combining Scandinavian minimalism with a jolt of electric power.