Volvo Cars, the Swedish automaker plans to present its first series-produced pure electric car in October this year. The EV will be based on the existing XC40, so it won’t be a stand-alone model. According to the company, it is not just launching its first fully electric car, but also introducing one of the safest cars on the road.
The gasoline-powered XC40 is already one of the safest cars in its category, all thanks to its internal combustion engine. It’s mounted right in front of the car, so it absorbs energy during a front-end crash. However, the battery-powered model doesn’t have a four-cylinder crumple zone, so Volvo has completely redesigned the front body structure for safety reasons.
Safety at the highest level
“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.”
A huge, lithium-ion battery pack is located on the vehicle floor in the middle of the body structure and protected by a safety cage made of extruded aluminum. This creates a crumple zone around the battery.
The aluminum safety cage around the battery to absorb energy during a crash and ensures the battery pack doesn’t get punctured or otherwise damaged. The battery pack under the passenger compartment also lowers the center of gravity and hence will help to reduce the risk of rollover.
At the same time, Volvo has also strengthened the body structure of the vehicle. The electric powertrain has been integrated into the body structure to better direct the forces involved in an accident away from the cab.
As the first Volvo model, the compact SUV has ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) – a combination of multiple cameras, radar and ultrasonic sensors for autonomous driving. This system will warn the driver if it detects a dangerous situation, and do its best to avoid it if possible.
More information about the all-electric Volvo XC40 will be announced in the coming weeks. The car is scheduled to make its debut on October 16, and it will go on sale shortly after.