Volvo announces electric XC40 SUV
Volvo's introduction of the XC40 SUV next month is being touted by the company as not only its first fully electric car, but also as "one of the safest cars on the road."
“Regardless of what drives a car forward, be it an electric machine or combustion engine, a Volvo must be safe,” says Malin Ekholm, Head of Safety at Volvo Cars. “The fully electric XC40 will be one of the safest cars we have ever built.”
While building on the safety standards of the original XC40, Volvo Cars says its safety engineers had to completely redesign and reinforce the frontal structure to deal with the absence of an engine, meet the company's safety requirements, and help keep occupants as safe as in any of the company's other cars.
“The fundamentals around safety are the same for this car as for any other Volvo. People are inside, and the car needs to be designed to be safe for them,” said Ekholm.
To help keep passengers safe and the battery intact in the event of a collision, Volvo Cars says it also developed a "new and unique" safety structure for passengers and battery alike in the XC40. The battery is protected by a safety cage that consists of a frame of extruded aluminum and has been embedded in the middle of the car’s body structure, creating a built-in crumple zone around the battery.
The battery’s placement in the floor of the car also has the benefit of lowering the center of gravity of the car, for better protection against rollovers.
Meanwhile, the car’s body structure has not just been reinforced in the front, but also at the rear. Here, the electric powertrain has been integrated in the body structure to realize a better distribution of collision forces away from the cabin and reduce the strain on people inside the car.
In terms of active safety systems, the battery-powered XC40 also introduces new technology. It is the first Volvo model equipped with a new advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) sensor platform with software developed by Zenuity, the joint venture company owned by Volvo Cars and Veoneer.
Volvo is calling the new ADAS platform a "modern, scalable active safety system" that consists of an array of radars, cameras, and ultrasonic sensors. Because of its scalable nature, it can be developed further and lays the foundation for the future introduction of autonomous drive technology.
Volvo Cars will reveal more details about the fully electric XC40 in the coming weeks, before it will be first shown to the public on October 16.