Volvo Concept Recharge points way to sustainable mobility

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Volvo Concept Recharge points way to sustainable mobility-concept

A concept vehicle with low CO2 footprint: As a harbinger for the mobility of the future, the freshly presented Volvo Concept sets Recharge not only on a fully electric drive. With sustainable materials, improved aerodynamics and other measures, the concept vehicle of the Swedish premium automaker also wants to show how the CO2 balance of a vehicle can be improved across the complete life cycle.

Volvo offers only pure electric cars from the year 2030. But on the way to the climate-neutral and circulation-oriented company, the company goes one step further: The Concept Recharge uses, among other things, sustainable materials made of recycled and renewable materials for interior and tires and relies on a aerodynamic design

In combination with the use of green energy in the completely CO2-free supply chain, in production and during use, the CO2 load can be significantly reduced over the entire vehicle life cycle. Volvo expects savings of around 80 percent compared to a Volvo XC60 of the model year 2018 – and without losses in the well-known and esteemed premium qualities, as the manufacturer emphasizes. If the Volvo Concept is charged with electricity from 100 percent renewable energies, it would have a CO2 footprint of less than ten tons.

“With the age of electric car, the question of how far you can drive with a full battery charge, play a central role,” says Owen Ready, Head of Strategic Design and Market Design at Volvo Cars. “The simplest approach are larger batteries, but this is not comparable to installing a larger fuel tank – batteries increase the weight and the CO2 balance sheet. In order to increase the range, we must instead increase the overall efficiency. With the Concept Recharge we determine the tension between the need for efficiency and the desire for the same space, comfort and driving experience as a Today’s SUV.”

Natural materials in the interior

Volvo sees itself as a pioneer in using sustainable and natural materials in vehicles. The Volvo Concept Recharge is another document for the commitment in this area. In the interior there are sustainable natural and recycled materials such as responsibly procured Swedish wool, environmentally friendly textiles and lightweight composites from natural sources.

Volvo Concept Recharge points way to sustainable mobility-rechargeVolvo

For example, the Swedish wool is processed into a natural breathable substance that is free of additives. This warm and soft material adorns the backrest of the seats and the top of the instrument panel. The floor and the lower doors are covered with a carpet made of 100 percent wool.

The seat cushions and door inner surfaces are made of an environmentally friendly material containing Tencel fibers of cellulose. This substance has a high durability, but at the same time feels soft. Through the TENCEL fibers to be produced in a water and energy-efficient method, the Volvo Designer can reduce the use of plastics in the interior.

Volvo Concept Recharge points way to sustainable mobility-sustainableVolvo

For the seat backrests and headrests as well as part of the steering wheel Volvo uses a newly developed material called Nordico. This is a soft product of bio-based and recycled components that are from sustainable forests in Sweden and Finland and have a 74 percent lower CO2 footprint as leather.

Less plastics

In other places in the interior like the lower storage surfaces, the back of the headrest and the footrest, a flat composite is used, which was developed by Volvo in cooperation with suppliers. The fibers of the linseed plant are mixed with composites to achieve strong and light, yet attractive and natural aesthetics.

Also the front and rear bumper as well as the sill cladding are made of flat composite. The large-scale use of this material in the inside and outside significantly reduces the plastic needs.

Tires as a range extender

By eliminating the internal combustion engine in favor of a purely electric powertrain, the tires play an even more important role. They are not only crucial for security, but also contribute significantly to the reach. For this reason, the tires of electric cars must always be the latest state of technical development.

The Volvo Concept Recharge therefore drives on special tires of Pirelli: They are completely free of mineral oil and consist of 94 percent of fossil-free materials, including recycled and renewable products such as natural rubber, organic silica, rayon and bio resin. This reflects the cycle-oriented approach of Volvo Cars and Pirelli, which should be drastically minimized both resource consumption and environmental impacts.

Efficient aerodynamics

In addition to sustainable materials, electric drive and special tires, the Volvo Concept wants to improve the environmental compatibility through more efficient aerodynamics. Innovative aerodynamic characteristics such as design accents, which smooth the airflow, a new wheel design, a lower roof and a sustainable rear improve the manufacturer the airflow – and give an outlook for future aerodynamics. The classic SUV shape is thus accompanied by an increased range without compromising the space ratios and the lower emphasis associated with an electric car.

Volvo Concept Recharge points way to sustainable mobility-conceptVolvo

“While customers continue to ask the benefits of SUV, we want to produce cars that offer all the desired security and comfort while reducing the environmental impact,” conclusively designer Owen Ready.

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