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Safe and Green — Volvo plans: Become full EV company by 2030, climate-neutral by 2040

Photographs by CHARLES BUBAN for the daily tribune SHAPE of things to come as represented by Volvo C40 Recharge, marking an important milestone in the Swedish automaker’s path towards a fully electric lineup.

Volvo vehicles have long been considered the safest luxury rides in the market.

Time and time again, the Swedish brand’s latest models have received top, if not the highest, marks for safety from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the United States, not to mention the European New Car Assessment Program.

Aside from being a big name in vehicle safety, Volvo also wants to be known as an environment-friendly brand that uses sustainable materials that help lessen environmental impacts.

The launch of its XC40 Recharge pure electric crossover SUV in 2020, started Volvo’s goal to be able to come up with more pure electric and hybrid luxury vehicle models that could protect the lives of vehicle owners and the planet as a whole.

Last week, Volvo Philippines presented its P4.19-million C40 Recharge model at the Alabang Town Center in Muntinlupa City, which is a twin of the XC40 Recharge but with a fastback (sloping) roofline.

This all-wheel drive compact luxury ride has dual electric motors that generate an outstanding 408 horsepower and 660 Nm of torque, enabling the C40 Recharge to reach 100 kilometers per hour from a standstill in just 4.7 seconds.

Its top speed is 180 km/h, which is in accordance with the vehicle maker’s pledge in 2020, that all Volvos from then on would not go beyond the set speed restriction.

 

THE traditional grille is now missing but it’s because there is no longer an engine that needs cooling.

 

549-km range

What is interesting about the C40 Recharge is that it can travel 549 km on a single charge, equivalent to the distance from Manila to Baguio and back.

It’s also recommended not to use up the 82-kWh battery pack in one single long drive since the C40 Recharge can easily be charged to 80 percent in about 27 minutes using a fast charger (about 7 hours when plugged into a standard electrical outlet).

Driving the C40 Recharge is more than experiencing an emission-free ride. Swedish designers made sure the ride is luxurious, safe and most comfortable like all the Volvos that came before it.

The interior of the C40 Recharge has been constructed without using any leather material. Volvo said the shift to using materials such as Nordico (made from forestry byproducts, recycled corks and plastic bottles that exhibit the same “softness and warmth” as leather) recognizes customer concerns over animal welfare issues in the leather industry and the environmental impacts of cattle farming. Even the upholsteries and carpets of the C40 Recharge are partially recycled.

To complete the package, Volvo included an advanced air purifier system that prevents up to 80 percent of hazardous PM 2.5 particles (fine inhalable particles that enter the vehicle’s cabin). This can help everyone inside the  C40 Recharge to enjoy a better and healthier air quality, no matter the conditions outside.

Another interesting design inside the cabin is the ambient lighting that simulates the topographic contours of elevations and depressions found in one of Sweden’s national parks. Located in the dashboard and door trim panels, the pattern gives out a soft glow especially at night.

 

(Photograph courtesy of  VOLVO PH) C40 Recharge’s ambient lighting (right) simulates the topographic contours of elevations and depressions found in one of Sweden’s national parks.

 

Safety features

Among the driver aids installed in the C40 Recharge is the Lane Assist that sends a subtle vibration through the steering wheel to help the driver maneuver back to the center of a road lane. There’s also the blind spot information system or BLIS that provides active support when changing lanes.

If there is a risk of collision with other vehicles in the adjacent lane, the BLIS can subtly adjust steering which helps keep the driver stay in the correct spot on the road.

There’s also the C40 Recharge’s advanced driver assistance technology which helps the driver maintain a safe distance from vehicles in front of him or her. This technology is helpful in stop-and-go traffic and can even alert an inattentive or distracted driver if traffic is already moving.

Going into reverse will never be a problem with the C40 Recharge. Aside from having a cross-traffic alert system with autobrake function that supports the driver when moving backward, it can also detect other vehicles crossing behind it and, if needed, engage in autobrake which is an important safety technology of the C40 Recharge.

When parking, the four cameras of this Volvo create a 360-degree view and together with flank sensors, the driver is alerted of objects at the side of the vehicle. Through this system, any driver can park without a hitch in confined spaces.

 

(Photograph courtesy of VOLVO PH) Interior of the C40 Recharge has been constructed without using any leather material, recognizing customer concerns over animal welfare issues in the leather industry and the environmental impacts of cattle farming.

 

Shape of things to come

Indeed, the Volvo C40 Recharge is the shape of things to come, as it marks an important milestone in the Swedish automaker’s path towards a fully electric lineup.

While the signature Thor’s Hammer headlights are still there, they are now equipped with state-of-the-art pixel LED light technology that automatically adapts to traffic in front and efficiently lights up the road ahead without affecting the vision of drivers of oncoming vehicles.

The traditional grille is now missing but it’s because there is no longer an engine that needs cooling. When the hood is lifted, a storage compartment for the charging cable can be found in lieu of an engine.

Volvo Cars is committed to becoming the leader of the fast-growing premium electric vehicle market. In view of this goal, it plans to become a fully electric vehicle company by 2030 and climate-neutral by 2040.

By then, Volvo would only be selling fully electric vehicles and phase out those in its global portfolio that use an internal combustion engine, including hybrids.

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