Volvo Concept Recharge: Reinventing The Iconic Swedish Station Wagon

Volvo recently unveiled Concept Recharge, the Swedish automaker’s vision of the future. And unlike its previous all-electric offerings, the Volvo Concept Recharge has none of that cookie-cutter design nonsense. Volvo currently has two EVs in its stable: XC40 Recharge and C40 Recharge, both of which we can’t tell apart like monozygotic twins.

Thankfully, Concept Recharge is taking a different approach. “Our Concept Recharge represents a manifesto for the all-electric future of Volvo Cars, as well as a new type of vehicle,” said Robin Page, Volvo head of design. “It displays new and modern proportions that go hand-in-hand with increased versatility and shows what technology can enable in terms of design.”

Unusual Is Beautiful

Unlike the first Recharge twins that share its underpinnings with Volvo’s XC40 crossover, Concept Recharge has a flat floor, shorter overhangs, and stretched wheelbase – the result of a dedicated skateboard-style platform like other modern EVs.

Volvo designers took it further by lowering the nose, moving the A-pillars forward, and repositioning the seats, retaining the high eyepoint of Volvo gasoline SUVs like the XC40 and XC90. And instead of pretending to have a front grille, Volvo envisions a shield-like structure flanked by a pair of groovy Thor’s hammer LED headlights.

The rear styling is clean as a whistle. Gone are those intricate taillight designs from past Volvo designs. Concept Recharge has thin, vertical C-shaped taillights. Adding a sporty flair are small fins that extend at higher speeds to tame the wind. Summing it up, you can’t blame us for referring to Concept Recharge as the rebirth of Volvo’s iconic station wagon.

Volvo Concept Recharge.
Volvo Concept Recharge. Photo: Volvo Car Group.

Breakthrough Safety Technology

The first production car to have a standard three-point seatbelt was the 1959 Volvo 122 midsize sedan, and Volvo gave the three-point seatbelt design an open patent for other automakers to use. With the Concept Recharge, Volvo is again focused on occupant safety.

On the Volvo Concept Recharge, there’s a roof-mounted LiDAR sensor courtesy of Luminar, scanning the road and its surrounding environment to offer autonomous driving features. Admittedly, the industry is still far off from true self-driving, fully autonomous vehicles, but the brightest minds around the world are inching closer to breaking the mold.

Typical Swedish Charm

Inside, the Volvo Concept Recharge is a triumph in minimalistic appeal. Those high-tech seats look ultra comfy on long drives, and the cabin is devoid of unnecessary shapes, buttons, and distractions.

Front and center is a 15-inch vertical touchscreen featuring Volvo’s next-gen connected infotainment system. Volvo didn’t mention if Android OS will continue in Concept Recharge, but it did say the interface is “logical and intuitive to use,” which sounds like Android to us. “We use the technologies but not for their own sake,” Page added. “We always focus on the benefits that technologies can bring.”

Volvo Concept Recharge interior layout.
Volvo Concept Recharge interior layout. Photo:  Volvo Car Group.

From Concept To Reality?

Volvo currently has no plans to fast-track the Concept Recharge for production, but it promised to debut a new flagship electric SUV in early to mid-2022. Is it an XC90 successor? Volvo didn’t say. But if it looks anything close to Concept Recharge, then we’re all in.

Alvin Reyes is an Automoblog feature columnist and an expert in sports and performance cars. He studied civil aviation, aeronautics, and accountancy in his younger years and is still very much smitten to his former Lancer GSR and Galant SS. He also likes fried chicken, music, and herbal medicine. 

Photos & Source: Volvo Car Group.