Volvo Cars kick starts 2021 Autostyle Design Digital Edition Series 2


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Robin Page, Senior Vice President Design at Volvo Cars opened the 2021 Autostyle Design Digital Edition workshops, with an interesting insight to the creation of the all new Volvo Concept Recharge car. The on-line event, now in its second year, and hosted by Berman S.p.A., the Italian automotive parts manufacturer, is a prelude the annual Autostyle Car Design Competition, now in its 18th year. Berman President Roberto Artioli in introducing Robin, complimented the great work he and his design team have developed over the years and mentioned that he has supported and contributed to the Autostyle program since 2013.

Unlike previous projects, the Concept Recharge had to be designed as an electric powered vehicle only and that most of the work had to be done remotely, shared with his colleagues on-line, as they worked from home during the lockdown periods. During that time, fresh thinking was introduced in the way cars will be used in a new era of zero-emission, autonomous driving, with occupants spending more time on board.

Fine tuning was undertaken at Volvo Cars Design Studio, at the brand’s headquarters in Gothenburg with input from one of its satellite studios in California.

Robin explained about the new design language established for this car, with new proportions and properties added, together with maintaining high levels of safety throughout. And basically to cater for a new generation of Volvo customer.

Interestingly, while the shape of the car looks conventional, it’s not, when taking a closer view. Here-to-fore a car’s profile was centered towards accommodating the internal combustion engine, hence the wheelbase and the wheel position being paramount. Now with an electric drivetrain, this focus has changed, with the battery pack now requiring a longer flat body platform with the axles and wheels at each end of the car. This allows also for a shorter bonnet section. All in all, there’s more interior space from the larger and more streamlined aerodynamic body shell.

In the frontal area, there is no need for an upper grille as there is no radiator inside, so Robin and crew drew up a solid shield type design that enhances the Volvo trademark ‘Iron Mark’ badge. As cooling is required for the electrical powertrain, slanted vents are formed under the bumper. The ‘Thor Hammer’ signature light cluster is dual purpose, with daytime running lights doing their job in daylight hours and with a quick flick of a switch, they flip around to become LED headlights, James Bond like!

Another futuristic detail is the LIDAR, a roof mounted radar system, that collects data and prepares the car for autonomous driving. An extra set of eyes on the road!

A wide, bright spacious cabin is revealed with reverse rear door opening system, aided by the full panoramic roof and lightly coloured seats and surfaces. With its flat floor and multi adjustable seats, a living room type experience is captured. For all age profiles, there is ample storage and anchor points for today’s and tomorrow’s requirements along with a foldable table and a Google projection lamp.

For the driver, there are two screens to hand, one larger for the now normal screen information and connectivity with the other smaller one providing more driver info on speed, range and performance.

Volvo as usual thinks about the environment on all materials used and on the seats, recycled Swedish wool is interwoven into the seats with recycled cork and flax used on the harder surface. 94% of the materials used are fossil free inside.

In offering advice to would be car designers Robin encouraged them to keep working hard, sketching, interacting with people, keeping up trends and learning more about the subject matter.

The next edition features the all new Bronco, presented by Ford Motor Company.