The Volvo brand has put safety at the forefront of its development for decades. Safe design, safe cars, safe messaging. Is it time to shake things up?
Volvo Cars President and CEO Jim Rowan joined the company in early 2022. The former CEO and Board member of Ember Technologies and Group CEO at Dyson is tasked with running a company that is thinking outside the traditional confines of the automotive industry box for its future products.
Like Ford President and CEO Jim Farley, Rowan sees the pathway forward for vehicles being about technological offerings rather than structural. Upgrades can come via subscriptions and over-the-air updates because of interconnected, digitized parts and equipment, rather than having to change to a totally different trim level for a buyer to get what they want. Cars are destined to stay fresh for longer.
The just-revealed EX90 all-electric three-row SUV is designed to be a formidable next step for the company. It won’t deviate too much from what Volvo brand loyalists expect, but it does push forward toward the company’s vision of a carbon neutral future.
“We’re building this new platform and looking at our sacred plan,” Rowan told Newsweek during a media roundtable in Stockholm, Sweden.
EX90 is one of several electric vehicles (EVs) Volvo has coming. The company has pledged to unveil a new one each year through 2030. None of those models will have an internal combustion engine (ICE).
“I won’t get into specifics about cars and exactly what models we’re going [to debut] but suffice to say, you know, we play across all the spectrums and site and ranges and we have customers require different vehicles, [have] different uses for vehicles. And we will try and make sure that we can capture as much of that as we possibly can.” Rowan said.
The automaker previewed a forthcoming small electric SUV as part of the EX90 reveal show, but failed to give specifics on size. A source close to the project indicated that the model will be about the same size as the Smart #1, which is the result of a Mercedes-Geely joint venture. Geely and Volvo share common ownership.
Rowan sees one of the advantages of the upcoming electric era of Volvo as being plug-and-play-like scenarios from a technology standpoint. “The real secret here for us is that we can use the generation of technology that we have in one vehicle … that will be the same…