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Volvo looks to future with driverless 360c

Sick of airports? Volvo says autonomous 360C is the alternative for intercity travel

Volvo logo6 Sep 2018

VOLVO wants to take on the airline industry with autonomous cars that can whisk passengers between cities by road overnight while they work, relax or sleep in business-class-style lay-flat seats, protected by special safety blankets.
The Swedish company also called for new global standards for fully autonomous car communication with other road users by a system of lights, colours, sounds and movements to replace today’s subtle human road-user interaction by eye contact, head turn and hand gestures.
Volvo says such protocols are crucial for the safe operation of autonomous cars, especially in the introduction phase when such vehicles will be mingling in traffic with conventional cars and trucks.
The company made these points when unveiling arguably the most advanced autonomous car concept to date, the all-electric 360c, in Sweden overnight.
While the four-seat car with its huge walk-in door might never be built in its current format, the technologies and design features might well make it into future cars.
The small but spacious pod-like car is designed for multiple purposes such as commuter transport, mobile office, entertainment space and – on long-haul trips – sleeping quarters.
One of the major features of the car is Volvo’s attempt to provide easy-to-understand signals to other road users, including drivers, pedestrians and cyclists, of the car’s intentions so that they do not get caught by surprise and end up a road accident statistic.
These include small finger-like lights that swing out from the indicators to accentuate the intention to turn in a particular direction and lights than can change colour to convey various moves.
Volvo – which was instrumental in the introduction of major safety advances such as seat belts and autonomous emergency braking in today’s cars – wants the vehicle to trigger a global discussion among car-makers and road safety authorities with the ambition of deciding global standards for such protocols.
Volvo Cars chairman Hakan Samuelsson said autonomous cars were the future of mobility and safer road transport.
“It is important to Volvo that we should be in the lead and transforming our business,” he said.
Mr Samuelsson said autonomous vehicles’ ground-breaking technology would not only make roads safer but “allow people to spend hours in their car doing something else instead of sitting driving”.
Volvo says wasted time at airports is a hassle, with travellers ending up spending more time getting on the plane than on the plane in domestic flights.
In Volvo’s futuristic vision, a car like the 360c will collect a passenger from their home or office and transport them by road directly to their destination in another city by the next day while they sleep.
The company has even invented a new form of blanket that can protect the passenger while they are laying down, replacing the conventional seatbelt.
Volvo senior vice-president of product strategy Marten Levenstan said domestic air travel looked good when a person bought a ticket but ended up being “not really pleasant at all”.
He said domestic air travel was a multi-billion industry that was open to disruption by alternative forms of transport.
“It is a massive business opportunity to find an alternative to this,” he said. “The 360 concept is a way to start thinking about airlines. Suddenly a car can compete with domestic air travel.”
Mr Levenstan likened the 360c concept to the Wright brothers’ first plane, saying it represented a starting point in the development of autonomous travel rather than the finish point.
Volvo says one of the greatest challenges of fully autonomous vehicles was making sure other road users understood what the vehicle was about to do – turning, stopping, accelerating reversing and so on.
“Autonomous technology will be introduced gradually rather than overnight,” Volvo said in its press release. “As a result, fully autonomous cars will be introduced in a mixed traffic situation where driver less cars without a human driver will share the road with other road users.
“In such a traffic situation, it will no longer be possible to make eye contact with and learn about another driver’s intentions, a central element of today’s everyday traffic interaction.”
The Volvo 360c addresses this with external sounds, colours, visuals and movements, as well as combinations of these tools, to communicate the vehicle’s intentions to other road users.
Volvo Cars Safety Centre vice-president Malin Ekholm said this communication should be a universal standard so all road users could communicate with any autonomous car regardless of brand.
“But it is also important that we do not instruct others what to do next, in order to avoid potential confusion,” he said. “Our research shows this is the safest way for fully autonomous cars to communicate with other road users.”
Source: https://www.goauto.com.au

Sick of airports? Volvo says autonomous 360C is the alternative for intercity travel

Volvo logo6 Sep 2018

VOLVO wants to take on the airline industry with autonomous cars that can whisk passengers between cities by road overnight while they work, relax or...
Read more

Four-seat Volvo XC90 Excellence touches down

Luxury-oriented Volvo XC90 Excellence arrives in Australia from $174,200 plus ORCs

Volvo logo2 Aug 2018

VOLVO Car Australia has added a new top-spec variant to its XC90 large SUV range in the form of the T8 Excellence that eschews the traditional five-seat set-up in favour of a more luxurious two-seat second row.   Arriving with a pricetag of $174,200 plus on-roads, the Excellence adds a whopping $49,300 over the previous range-topping variant, the T8 R-Design.   Its price point puts it in the crosshairs of the likes of the Range Rover Sport and Porsche Cayenne, and also makes it the most expensive Volvo model sold in Australia to date.   Volvo Car Australia director of corporate and PR Greg Bosnich told GoAuto the brand sees an opportunity to promote the pinnacle of its product portfolio in Australia with the Excellence, rather than gain extra sales volume.   Created with rear passengers in mind, the Excellence adds a number of luxury features to ensure a chauffeur-driven journey is made in utmost comfort.   Based on the Inscription trim level, the crowning feature of the Excellence is two electrically adjustable individual rear seats separated by a rear tunnel console, upholstered in perforated Nappa leather with heating, ventilation and massage functions.   Extra comfort is provided in the rear by special comfort headrests, increased legroom, footrests, extra noise insulation, folding tray tables, heated and cooled cupholders and the ability to adjust the front passenger seat from the second row.   Inside the rear tunnel console lies a storage compartment fitted with two handcrafted Orrefors crystal drinking glasses, and a refrigerator to store the passenger’s beverage of choice.   Rear climate control is managed through a touchscreen on the tunnel console, while rear passengers also gain two USB connections, one 12V port and one 230/110V power outlet.   Other interior specification includes Nubuck textile headliner and roof pillars, leather-clad sun visors and grab handles, unique logos embroidered into the headrests, a luggage partition divider, ionic air cleaner, and an extra mid-range speaker for the Bowers & Wilkins Premium Sound system.   From the outside, the Excellence is distinguished by chrome B- and C-pillars, unique logos on the lower door strip and tailgate, and 21-inch rims shod in special low-noise tyres.   No mechanical changes have been made over the T8 Inscription’s plug-in hybrid powertrain, which teams a 235kW/400Nm turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine to a 60kW/240Nm electric motor and 9.2kWh lithium-ion battery for a combined output of 294kW/640Nm.   Through the first half of 2018, Volvo has sold 561 examples of the XC90, down 12.1 per cent over the 638 sales it managed over the same period last year.   It trails segment-leading offerings such as the BMW X5 (1487), Range Rover Sport (1420), Audi Q7 (1197), Mercedes-Benz GLE (1107), Lexus RX (1080) and Land Rover Discovery (1026).   The Excellence, the only four-seat Volvo in Australia, is on sale now.
Source: http://www.goauto.com.au

Luxury-oriented Volvo XC90 Excellence arrives in Australia from $174,200 plus ORCs

Volvo logo2 Aug 2018

VOLVO Car Australia has added a new top-spec variant to its XC90 large SUV range in the form of the T8 Excellence that eschews the traditional five-seat...
Read more

Polestar Engineered grade ups Volvo S60 T8 plug-in hybrid ante to 309kW/670Nm

Volvo logo15 Jun 2018

VOLVO has continued to tease the third-generation S60 ahead of its reveal on June 20, with the sedan confirmed to usher in a performance-focused Polestar Engineered flagship grade for all mid-size 60-series models, including the XC60 SUV and V60 wagon.
The new addition to the incoming S60 range is significant considering the Polestar sub-brand has been spun off by Volvo as a standalone electrified performance brand, but their affiliation – most notably seen on the current-generation S60/V60 Polestar – will carry on.
According to Volvo Cars president and chief executive officer Hakan Samuelsson, Polestar Engineered is just one of the first steps in the new relationship between Volvo and Polestar.
“Electric cars are our future,” he said. “Today starts a new era of Volvo electrified models enhanced by Polestar’s performance engineering prowess. This strategy is firmly grounded in our shared belief in an electric future for the car industry.”
Based on the T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid, Polestar Engineered features an uprated petrol-electric powertrain that produces a BMW M3-rivalling 309kW of power and 670Nm of torque, up 11kW and 30Nm. Conversely, the S60/V60 Polestar develops 270kW and 470Nm in its most potent form.
In order to achieve Polestar Engineered’s increased outputs, the Swedish car-maker has retuned the set-up’s Engine Control Unit (ECU) and eight-speed torque-convertor automatic transmission. Improved fuel consumption and emissions-neutral performance is also promised.
Polestar Engineered is visually distinguished by its Y-spoke alloy wheel design, gold-painted Brembo mono-bloc callipers, slotted discs, black-chrome exhaust pipes, gold seatbelts and Polestar badging.
The multi-link front and rear suspension adds adjustable Ohlins shock absorbers “with a dual-flow valve that allows stiffening in the springs and dampeners while retaining comfort”, according to Volvo. The designs of the strut bar and shock absorber are shared with the Polestar 1 sportscar.
Volvo Cars senior vice-president of research and development Henrik Green added that Polestar Engineered delivers on its performance brief.
“The new S60 T8 Polestar Engineered is an electrified car that does what you want it to,” he said. “All components have been fine-tuned to work together, delivering a responsive and exciting driver’s car.”
Given it is the first Volvo model to be manufactured in the United States, the S60 will be revealed at the inauguration of the marque’s plant in Charleston, South Carolina, while its mechanically related V60 counterpart broke cover at the Geneva motor show in March this year.
The S60 – including Polestar Engineered – will officially enter production in the third quarter this year, while Polestar Engineered versions of the XC60 and V60 will start being built in 2019.
As previously reported, the S60 will be the first Volvo model to not be developed with a diesel powerplant, marking the company’s first step towards phasing out internal-combustion engines.
However, the model’s future in Australia remains undecided, with Volvo Cars Australia managing director Nick Connor telling GoAuto last month that the suitability of the S60 and V60 continues to be reviewed due to the increasing popularity of SUVs, such as the XC60.
Sales of the S60 have taken a significant hit this year during its run-out, with 29 examples sold to the end of May, representing a 65.5 per cent decrease over the 84 deliveries made during the same period in 2017.
Source: https://www.goauto.com.au/future-models/volvo/s60/volvo-teases-potent-s60-polestar-engineered/2018-06-15/73553.html

Volvo logo15 Jun 2018

VOLVO has continued to tease the third-generation S60 ahead of its reveal on June 20, with the sedan confirmed to usher in a performance-focused Polestar Engineered flagship grade for all mid-size 60-series models, including the XC60 SUV and V60...
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Volvo confirms Aussie rollout of electrified XC40s and role in global EV strategy

7 May 2018

By TERRY MARTIN

THE fully electric version of Volvo’s new XC40 small SUV due late next year or early in 2020 will be the Swedish brand’s first foray into zero-emissions motoring in Australia, bolstering a burgeoning range of electrified vehicles that will include all-electric and plug-in hybrid variants in every model line.
The XC40 range launched last week will expand in late 2019 with the car-maker’s first three-cylinder engine – an economical 115kW/265Nm 1.5-litre turbo-petrol T3 unit that will also be combined with an electric motor to produce the T5 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid variant that is expected to launch alongside the full-electric version around the same time.
Volvo Car Australia’s new managing director Nick Connor confirmed the model rollout to GoAuto – noting that the launch of the electrified versions could push into early 2020 – and reaffirmed its commitment to the global strategy that will see all new models released from 2019 available as either a mild hybrid, plug-in hybrid or battery-electric vehicle.
Mr Connor said Volvo Car Australia had an obligation and responsibility to offer electrified vehicles wherever possible, despite the segment only accounting for a fraction of total new-vehicle sales.
He did emphasise, however, that the Australian subsidiary’s ability to achieve Volvo Cars’ just-announced new target of 50 per cent of global sales coming from fully electric cars by 2025 would depend on broader issues such as consumer attitudes and the rollout of recharging infrastructure.
“We have to be mindful of what consumers actually want,” he said. “We can make these bold statements, but ultimately consumers get to decide, and that’s the way it should be.
“Honestly, I think it’s a bold ambition, I think that in some markets it’s almost certainly achievable, and you can see what happens in markets like Norway where there’s big incentives for electric cars, the take-up is phenomenal.
“I don’t think it’s impossible, but what percentage we do in a particular market is going to be determined by the infrastructure, it’s going to be determined by tax incentives, those things are out of Volvo’s control.
“Ultimately, we’ll follow the market, we’ll have the electrified product offers here if consumers want it, but with the best will in the world, we’re not going to drive people into electrified cars if there isn’t an appropriate infrastructure or incentive for them.
“We’re committed to hybrids and fully electric cars (in Australia). My personal view is that if we’ve got a full plug-in electric vehicle, we should offer it, even if the numbers initially are quite small.
“We’re going into a new part of the market and I think we should lead. We have a responsibility to lead if we’ve got the products available. What volume we ultimately do by 2025 is not entirely up to us but I think we should put the offer out there, we’ll promote it, and promote its benefits.
“It’s not going to suit everybody and we have to accept that, but those it does suit I think we’ve got an obligation to try and persuade them.”
Source: www.goauto.com.au

7 May 2018

By TERRY MARTIN

THE fully electric version of Volvo’s new XC40 small SUV due late next year or early in 2020 will be the Swedish brand’s first foray into zero-emissions motoring in Australia, bolstering a burgeoning range of electrified vehicles that will include all-electric and plug-in hybrid variants in every model...
Read more