Growing up, Volvos weren’t cool because my dad drove one. For some reason, that’s just the way my brain worked as a kid (as did most kids)– dad’s car wasn’t cool. But now, things have changed.
It started with the launch of the C30. Its squat, hatchback styling stood out from the rest of the range, and made it pop in a crowded parking lot. Next came the V40, which was another looker from the Scandinavian design squad.
These days I’m a full on Volvo fanboy, and even now covet the blue 740 that appears in 90s family photos and home videos.
On top of this, Volvo has seriously upped its style game in recent years. The S90 is elegant and edgy, and the C40 takes Scandinavian chic to a new level.
Now as other automakers begin encroaching on its boxy car turf, the Swedish brand is here to prove that it still remains the box king. To do this, it’s created an all-new, all-electric concept that heavily leans into its boxy past. And, I love it.
The Concept Recharge is billed as a glimpse into Volvo’s “path towards sustainable mobility”.
It showcases where the company’s design could be headed, and features an insight into the materials and processes Volvo could use to make its cars more eco-friendly in years to come.
On the design front, the Concept Recharge takes the angular aesthetic found on Volvos of old and forces it into the 21st century. Where my family’s 90s 740 was all straight edges and angles, the Recharge adds a long, swooping roof line that evokes the style of a shooting break.
Its squared-off front end houses the mandatory futuristic lighting array you’ll find in any EV concept worth its salt. Also, in place of the grille, Volvo has fitted a glowing emblem up front that also looks very sleek.
Once you open up the suicide doors or peek through the glass roof, you’ll be able to see all the staple ingredients of a modern concept car.
The cabin is bright and airy, and features plush fabrics, minimalist controls and chairs that look straight out a sci-fi flick.
This is where Volvo has packed in its planet-saving materials. Volvo cites fabrics such as responsibly sourced Swedish wool to cover the seats, and a cellulose-based material that adorns the seat cushions and doors.
Inside, you’ll also find a substance called Nordico, which Volvo describes as a “soft material made from bio-based and recycled ingredients,” sourced from forests in Sweden and Finland. Volvo has also used a flax-based composite both inside and out to reduce the need for plastics.
As a result of all these eco-minded flourishes, Volvo claims that it can reduce a car’s lifecycle CO2 impact by 80% versus a gasoline-powered 2018 Volvo XC60.
That would give the Concept Recharge an overall lifecycle CO2 impact below 10 tonnes when charged with 100% renewable energy.
What do you think of the latest design concept from Volvo? Does the boxy brand manage to be eco-conscious without sacrificing everything you need from a family car?