MALMO, Sweden – The advance of electric cars, Swedish automaker Volvo believes, represents the biggest change in the history of the automobile as – for the first time in more than a century – cars move without a petrol or diesel engine and have a battery under their floor.
(That statement, of course, doesn’t acknowledge the years during which electric milk floats whined along the streets of many countries. – Ed)
Whatever, Volvo will launch a battery-only Volvo XC40 SUV in October 2019 which, it claims, will also be one of its safest.
Malin Ekholm, head of safety at Volvo Cars, told The Corner in a media release: “Regardless of what powers a car it must be safe. The fully-electric XC40 will be one of the safest cars we’ve built.”
Volvo engineers are said to have completely redesigned and reinforced the car ahead of the windscreen to deal with the absence of an engine, meet Volvo’s high safety requirements, and ”help to keep occupants as safe as in any other Volvo”.
Ekholm added: “The safety fundamentals will be the same for this car as for any other Volvo. People are inside and the car needs to be designed to keep them safe.”
Volvo says it has developed a unique safety structure for people and battery in the XC40. Should there be a crash the battery will be protected by a cage embedded in the centre of the car – ”a built-in crumple zone around the battery”.
NEW DRIVING ASSISTANCE
The underfloor battery pack also lowers the car’s centre of gravity – handy for high-speed stability. The shell has been reinforced front and rear, and the power train is part of the body to distribute collision energy away from the cabin.
The battery-powered XC40 also, its maker says, will be the first Volvo to have new assistance tech to help the driver on a platform that has a crash-avoidance system based on radar, cameras, and ultrasound. The carmaker adds: ”Because of its scalable nature it can easily be developed further – it is the foundation for a the future introduction of autonomous drive technology.”
- Volvo Cars will reveal more details about the fully electric XC40 in coming weeks before being officially revealed on October 16 2019. The Corner will keep you posted…