Volvo rethinks architecture, design, sourcing

The new EV platform will underpin future crossovers, sedans and station wagons, and Volvo will count on it to propel the company toward its stated goal of selling 600,000 EVs — half of its anticipated global volume — by 2025.

“We see the demand is there. So, it’s up to us to deliver the cars,” Volvo Chief Technology Officer Henrik Green said.

The plan will usher in a new Volvo design language. The automaker’s next-generation EVs will be based on a skateboard approach to vehicle layout. By using a full battery pack that sits under the flat floor, designers will extend the wheelbase and create more interior space.

The design will allow a crossover’s hood and roofline to be lowered to make models more aerodynamic without compromising visibility for occupants, Volvo said. The traditional grille has been replaced with a shield-like structure, supported by a new interpretation of Volvo’s Thor’s Hammer headlight design.

The minimalist interior is anchored by a 15-inch touch screen and a floating screen behind the steering wheel that will use Volvo’s newly developed operating system.

The new EVs also will adopt a centralized and less-complex computing platform, the company said. Rather than relying on multiple electronic control units to oversee individual features and systems, an increasing amount of in-house-developed software will run in a powerful computing system.

“The days where we just made a hardware car and sold it are gone,” Samuelsson said. “Now, a lot of functionality comes from software.”

But outsourcing software development is no longer an option, he added.

“It’s too slow and inefficient to just specify what we want and get it in a black box from a supplier,” Samuelsson said. “That is not giving us the functionality we need to be different.”

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