Volvo has previously stated its aim to be not just fully battery-electric by 2030 but entirely carbon neutral a decade later and the company’s new Concept Recharge is here to point the way.
The aim is to maximise the use of sustainable, recycled and renewable materials as well as a focus on aerodynamics to reduce the car’s lifetime CO2 contribution by 80 per cent compared to a current generation Volvo XC60. This means that a Concept Recharge would emit less than 10 tonnes of carbon dioxide over its entire lifetime if charged with renewable electricity.
The result is certainly not the automotive equivalent of a hair shirt, reinventing the shooting brake silhouette for the electric SUV age. Naturally the front has strong elements of Polestar with just a hint of Porsche Taycan in the body vents surrounding the Thor’s Hammer headlight. A sculpted front end and bonnet leads back through smooth side surfaces to an abruptly squared off tail.
Rear-hinged back doors and no b-pillar means the entire side of the car opens up to reveal a stunning cabin created with a mixture of very traditional and cutting edge materials. Woollen cloth covers the dash top and seat backrests with woollen carpeting on the floors and lower doors. Plastics are replaced in the seat cushions and touch surfaces with Tencel, made from cellulose, while Volvo has created an entirely new material for other areas. The steering wheel, seatbacks and headrests are covered in a faux leather dubbed Nordico and made from sustainable materials from Nordic forests.
Harder wearing areas and external parts such as bumpers us a flax-based composite to reduce plastic dependency still further. Even the tyres on the Concept Recharge have come under consideration. Developed with Pirelli they contain no mineral oil and are largely made from recycled and renewable materials. Suddenly the battery-electric future doesn’t look too bad.