Volvo Cars want to completely electrify its lineup by 2030 and, on Wednesday, offered a glimpse into how it plans to get there and what itsof vehicles might look like. But it’s not going to do it alone. Although the automaker plans to develop its own in-car and other parts of the car, Volvo Cars detailed how it intends to work with partners like Northvolt, Google, and Luminar to build its future vehicles lineup. It also unveiled the first images of “Concept Recharge,” a concept EV with flat floors, two interior screens, and rear “suicide doors” that open from the middle of the vehicle.
The Concept Recharge is also outfitted with Luminar sensors, in line with an earlier announcement that Volvo Cars’ forthcoming flagshipwill be equipped with Luminar’s technology stack as standard. On the battery front, Volvo Cars are working with Swedish battery developer Northvolt on a pack that it says will enable a range of up to around 621 miles achievement of energy density, should Northvolt pull it off. Volvo Cars will also source 15 GWh of batteries from Northvolt’s battery plant in Skellefteå, Sweden, from 2024. The two companies aim to build a gigafactory in Europe by 2026 in a new 50-50 joint venture, with a potential annual capacity of up to 50 gigawatt-hours.
Future Volvo Cars vehicles will be capable of bidirectional charging. This capability cangenerator or a mini power plant, offloading excess energy to the electricity grid. Volvo said its OS, VolvoCars.While the vehicle will contain up to 100 electrical control units, these will run on a core computing system of three main computers being developed in partnership with Nvidia. OS will act as an “umbrella system” for underlying operating systems, and tech from Linux, QNX, and AUTOSAR.
The automaker also discussed its plans to equip its flagship electric SUV with Luminar’s sensor suite and technology from Volvo’s software arm Zenseact. Executives shirked questions asking to specify the level of the autonomous system — referring to the scale developed by the Society of Automobile Engineers to measure the level of autonomy in a driving system — saying that they preferred to discuss the forthcoming AV driving system in terms of supervised or unsupervised. Under those terms, Volvo said the two modes — Cruise and Ride— would require driver supervision and no supervision, respectively. It said it would gradually in the future.
The open system will generate tons of customer driving data, and Volvo doesn’t intend to go to waste. The automaker said it aims to build a data factory to process the information it collects from customers that use its autonomous drive(with their consent). It would use this data to improve the system, which it would push to vehicles via over-the-air updates.
“We need to transform this company from just a premium conventional company. We need to transform it into a leader in the new premium electric segment, which is growing very fast,” Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson said. “We need to understand batteries like we understand the combustion engine.”