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09-11-2021 | Body | News | Article

"Good design embraces the technology we need to integrate"

Author:
Patrick Schäfer
2:30 min reading time

The design of electric cars is currently still not very innovative, also due to the package tasks for battery systems: A large number of these vehicles are SUVs. Interview with Robin Page, Chief Designer at Volvo Cars.

Springer Professional: Robin Page, your latest creation is the Volvo Concept Recharge. From which angle do you like the crossover best?

Robin Page: I particularly like the true front view of the Concept Recharge best as this shows the new look of a Volvo full electric car. It shows the confident face built up from a strong shield structure which provides a pure background to the Volvo Iron mark and diagonal. The shield is then supported either side by the next generation Thor’s hammer which is pure in daytime and then open’s up at night to reveal the pure graphic with the High-definition technology. Overall, the front face is modern, self-confident and truly communicates that this is a full electric vehicle.

Electric cars currently represent the avant-garde of the automobile. They are supposed to symbolize the dawn of environmentally friendly mobility. At present, the designers of all manufacturers seem to have agreed on the SUV as the blueprint for electric cars. What do you think is the reason for this?

People appreciate the high seating position and therefore the high eye point and the easy entry/exit. They also appreciate the high level of versatility you get with the SUV. With the Concept Recharge we retain the high eye point, easy entry/exit and versatility but have addressed the gain in efficiency, which in turn, delivers environmentally friendly mobility. We have achieved this by lowering the roof and front of the car by optimizing the freedom in package created by having an electric platform and in addition to that, reducing the Cant-rail sections and having a glass roof. We have also made further gains in efficiency by optimizing other areas to enhance further aerodynamic improvements such as wheel design and underfloor improvements.

With what features can the Volvo Concept Recharge continue or renew Volvo's design DNA?

With Concept Recharge we show a new design language for Volvo such as the new electric front face design, a new type of vehicle combining the high eye point and easy entry/exit and versatility packaged in a more aero efficient vehicle compared to today’s SUV. The concept also shows a new design language for the interior space and use of natural sustainable materials.

Another approach would be to openly display the available technology, such as lidar, radar, cameras and intelligent lighting. Will technical features be more important in the future than the design, the shape of the vehicle?

I think good design embraces the technology we need to integrate. It is important to celebrate the introduction of new technology and show the customer the benefits to them and not just describing figures they do not understand. With Volvo we have a purpose to reach zero collision and the technology such as the Lidar positioned in the optimal position on top of the roof is a critical part of that journey, that is why we want to celebrate it.

Mr. Page, thank you very much for this interview!

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