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2021 Volvo Concept Recharge

The Recharge Concept is a preview of what to expect from the future Volvo EV models

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While some automakers are making switches to the future by plonking in electric powertrains to existing models, a few of them are revealing concepts to show what the future holds for them. Toyota unveiled the bZ4x concept last month and it gave us a preview of what the Japanese automaker’s future holds. Now, Volvo has given us a peek of what the Scandinavian design philosophy will look like.

Volvo has revealed the Concept Recharge in the form of a two-row SUV. At the onset, it sure looks futuristic. The Swedish automaker has retained the core aesthetic elements, like the Thor headlights, the prominent Volvo logo up front, etc. But, the question is – Can the automaker be a top dog in this paradigm shift?

How Is The Concept Recharge On The Outside?

2021 Volvo Concept Recharge Exterior
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As Volvo puts it, the Concept Recharge is a “manifesto for the next generation of all-electric Volvos.” While the concept looks sharp on the outside, Volvo has followed a minimalistic theme here. The new ’less but better’ theme has removed all the stuff that Volvo considers unnecessary on the outside.

The Swedish automaker has noted that the first-gen of EVs share the same architecture as the fuel-powered models. The reason behind this is to house battery packs as well as internal combustion engines together, case in point: hybrid vehicles.

The pure EVs, which are touted as the second-gen of EVs in Volvo’s speak, will feature flat floors, extended wheelbase, shorter overhangs, and so on, as previewed on this Concept Recharge.
2021 Volvo Concept Recharge Exterior
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Up front, the grille is replaced with a closed ‘shield-like structure’ that bears the Volvo logo. The Thor headlights are retained, but are redesigned to differentiate them from the standard fuel-powered models.

They are said to feature a technology-enabled pure graphic that opens at night to reveal the main lamps.

This looks absolutely fantastic in action! We hope this makes it to production EVs.

2021 Volvo Concept Recharge Exterior
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At the rear, the Christmas-light setup is carried over, but with a slight twist. The slim LEDs have a graphic approach here, too, and look quite good. This sequential lighting isn’t as jaw-dropping as the headlights, but it’s still pretty cool. The lights are apparently imagined with a set of wings that extend at higher speeds to aid aerodynamics. A lot of other design factors like the lower hood, optimized roof profile, and repositioned A-pillars also aid with the aerodynamics. Also, the Volvo logo up front and the Volvo lettering on the tailgate are illuminated. 

How Is The Concept Recharge On The Inside?

2021 Volvo Concept Recharge Interior
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Thanks to the extended wheelbase, the Concept Recharge is quite spacious on the inside. This will be the norm for all upcoming Volvo EVs, and even electric vehicles in general. Since there is no internal combustion engine, automakers can extract a lot more space that’s utilized on the inside. As seen here, there is also a little cargo space between the seats in the front. Never been a fan of this, but it still shows how space can be utilized to the max.

The longer wheelbase and shorter overhangs also result in better storage space in the cargo area.

The designers and engineers have also repositioned the seats and lowered the hood so that the driver gets a high eye-point view of the outside. The front seats rendered in the concept are mounted on single stands that hint at swivel chairs being offered, and in extension, Level 5 autonomy, but we’ll reserve that discussion for later. The second row also has two bucket seats with an armrest in the middle. It’s also interesting how Volvo has highlighted the seatbelts, subtly putting across that Volvo EVs will also stand for safety. Oh, and did I mention the Concept Recharge showcases suicide doors?

2021 Volvo Concept Recharge Interior
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On the tech front, the Concept Recharge features a 15-inch touchscreen system on the center console.

Details about the tech stuff here are still sparse, but the automaker could shed light on it in the future. What we do know, however, is that Volvo is investing in autonomous technology. Future Volvo cars will feature LiDAR sensors which are built by a company called Luminar. This is said to be a ‘critical part of Volvo Cars’ plan’. 

Does Volvo Have Experience In the EV Segment?

2021 Volvo Concept Recharge Exterior
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The company hasn’t touched base on the powertrain and battery specs, and range for the Concept Recharge. From what it’s worth, Volvo isn’t known for offering an impeccable range. The automaker’s first pure EV, the XC40 Recharge, comes with an EPA-based estimated range of 208 miles. This isn’t very impressive for a compact SUV. The charging times are quick enough as it takes 40 minutes to recuperate around 80-percent of the battery.

As for the powertrain specs, The XC40 Recharge is powered by a couple of motors that churn out 402 horses and 486 pound-feet of torque combined, which help it propel to 60 mph from rest in 4.7 seconds. The Volvo XC40 Recharge starts at $53,990.

Volvo XC40 Recharge specifications
Engine 2 e-motors, one on each axle
Battery 78-kWh
Horsepower 402 HP
Torque 486 LB-FT
0 to 60 mph 4.7 seconds
Range 208 miles

Conclusion

2021 Volvo Concept Recharge Exterior
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This is just a concept that previews what the future will hold. This doesn’t mean whatever’s showcased will make it to production. There’s no significant announcement the automaker has made about any upcoming EV models, but we hope to see it be more active in this regard.

What is the one thing you loved in this concept that you would like to see in production EVs? I’d pick the fancy headlights. Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

Sidd Dhimaan
Sidd Dhimaan
Senior Editor, Truck Expert, EV Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. Fast forward to today, and he is currently serving as a senior editor, pickup truck expert, and EV expert.  Read full bio
About the author

For Volvo Cars, electrification is more than simply a shift in powertrains. It represents a new paradigm in car design and the Volvo Concept Recharge is a manifesto for the next generation of all-electric Volvos.

True to the heritage of Scandinavian design, Concept Recharge has the mantra of ’less but better’ at its core. For example, by removing the complexity of the internal combustion engine, the designers have been able to evolve the car’s proportions to increase interior space while also improving aerodynamic efficiency. The result is a car that offers genuinely better solutions to support a sustainable family life.

Volvo’s first generation of electric cars shares a floor with combustion engine-powered cars, which requires a balance in proportions and space to be able to accommodate both a battery pack and an internal combustion engine.

The next generation of Volvo’s fully electric cars – the first of which is the company’s first SUV on a completely new electric-only technology base – will feature flat floors, as previewed in the Concept Recharge.

By removing the engine and replacing it with a full battery pack under the flat floor, the designers have extended the wheelbase and the wheel size of the car. The result is shorter overhangs, as well as a lot more interior space including a large storage area between the front seats.

In the Concept Recharge these advancements have led designers to reposition the seats, optimise the roof profile and lower the hood of the car while retaining the high eye point beloved by drivers of cars like the Volvo XC40, XC60 and XC90. This approach creates efficiency gains in aerodynamics compared to a typical SUV, which improves range.

This concept car also introduces a new Volvo design language. Continuing the theme of ’less but better’, all unnecessary elements have been removed and what remains is treated with a high-precision, flush execution.

The traditional grille has been replaced with a shield-like structure, supported by a new interpretation of Volvo Cars’ Thor’s Hammer headlight design. These include the latest HD technology-enabled pure graphic which open at night to reveal the main lamp units.

Signature vertical rear lamps connect to the brand’s strong design heritage, but are reimagined with a set of wings that extend at higher cruising speeds to further improve overall aerodynamics.

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

The Volvo design language also takes a new form inside the Concept Recharge. The flat floor provides more space and a better seating position for all those inside the car.

A large, 15 inch standing touch screen is the centre of a new and improved user experience for the company’s next-generation connected infotainment system. Designed to be logical and intuitive to use, technology helps provide a serene and calm experience.

The latest infotainment technology goes hand in hand with those other hallmarks of Scandinavian design: clean lines and extensive use of sustainable and natural materials inside the cabin.

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

Finally, the Concept Recharge also reflects Volvo Cars’ safety ambitions in coming years. A LiDAR sensor, built by technology company Luminar and a critical part of Volvo Cars’ plan for forthcoming safe autonomous drive technology, is placed in an optimal position on the roof to collect data on the environment around the car.

“With the Concept Recharge we continue the rich roots of Volvo’s design DNA in a modern and fresh way as we move into our all-electric future,” concluded Robin Page. “It represents everything we believe customers expect from a pure electric Volvo and we’re excited to take this philosophy into our next generation of cars.”

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