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Volvo Concept Recharge previews major changes for upcoming EVs

Whether it's design or the tech inside, it's been updated for the future.

The "Thor's Hammer" headlights are such a staple for modern Volvos that you'll see iterations of them for years to come. If it ain't broke...

Volvo

Volvo has big aspirations for its future electric cars -- specifically, it wants electric vehicles to make up 100% of its sales as early as 2030. Of course, the current slate of Swedish EVs won't be responsible for drumming up those sales; there's a new generation of electric vehicles on the horizon to help Volvo accomplish its ambitions, and the Concept Recharge gives us an idea of what to expect.

Volvo on Wednesday unveiled the Concept Recharge as part of its Tech Moment press event, previewing how Volvo intends to reinvent the way it makes cars in the future.

The design language is new, but there are plenty of Volvo design staples in the Concept Recharge -- the "Thor's Hammer" headlight design, vertical taillights and a large portrait infotainment screen -- they've just all been updated. The headlights, for example, now incorporate a graphic where the horizontal lit element "opens up" in the switch from running lights to headlights, like a set of eyelids. The grille may be gone, but the automaker's design element remains carved into the flat expanse that replaces it; after all, the goal wasn't to build something unrecognizable.

Concept Recharge was designed as an electric vehicle from the outset, which means the interior can undergo some radical reinvention. A flat load floor hides the EV's battery, and a lack of related mechanicals means the seats can be positioned lower, which means the roof and hood can be lowered, leaving an interior that's mighty open with plenty of glass and space between the seats. In the second row, the bottoms of each seat can move up or down, acting as a built-in booster seat for children. The materials that adorn the various interior panels are sustainably sourced, and the wood trim is backlit for a more interesting nighttime profile.

The underlying technology also features some big leaps forward. A 15-inch touchscreen and a small, wide display in front of the steering wheel preview a new infotainment system that promises a simple layout that puts the most pertinent information within reach, avoiding the outright clutter that some modern systems seem to pile on. Mounted atop the windshield is a new lidar sensor, which ties into Volvo's recent announcement that it will be adding lidar to the XC90's successor to further improve its driver-assistance systems.

Some of what you see here could make its way to vehicles as early as 2022, when Volvo intends to unveil its all-electric flagship successor to the XC90.