The next generation 2022 Volvo XC90, which the company announced will debut next year, will be the first product off the SPA2 platform, and will also debut the NVIDIA Drive Orin SoC (System on a Chip), the Swedish company confirmed.
Take a look at the most recent information we have on the next-gen SUV that could be one of the safest in the world.
1. Dual platform strategy
Codenamed V536, the third generation XC90 will offer a full electric Recharge variant. The XC90 Recharge will use a skateboard platform that will not compromise interior space despite having a large battery. Henrik Green, Chief Technology Officer, Volvo Cars, shared the dual-platform plan of Volvo Cars to Green Car Reports in March 2021.
Essentially, the SPA2 will feature two different floor assemblies: the Volvo XC90 Recharge’s floor will be built around the flat battery with an electric machine in front and rear, whereas the internal combustion variants of the SUV will see a floor design that accommodates the combustion engine in the front, the prop shaft, an exhaust system, a fuel tank in the rear. Volvo will manufacture the floors in parallel on separate lines.
The variant nomenclature, as per a report from teknikensvarld.se, for the next-generation XC90 will be “B” mild-hybrid, “T” plug-in hybrid, and “P” pure electric variants.
The XC90 Recharge is expected with a 100 kWh battery pack built of over 30 cell modules, with two electric motors each producing around 200 PS (197 hp) and 850 Nm of torque (625 lb.-ft), enabling a sports car-like acceleration; the top-speed, however, will be limited to 180 km/h (112 mph) as per Volvo’s safety standards.
Given that even the smaller XC40 Recharge has a range of 208 miles (EPA), the flagship Volvo XC90 Recharge should see about 350 miles of estimated range.
As per other reports, the 2022 XC90 will be longer than 5 meters (an increment of about 50 mm over the current model) and will offer an array of seating configurations from an exclusive 1+2 to 2+2 and 2+3 in two-row trims and 2+2+2 and 2+3+2 as three-row variants.
3. ‘Sentinel’ Level 4 Autonomous driving tech
The 2022 XC90 will approach Level 4 autonomous driving, which is the first level of fully automated driving. The vehicle can handle itself in most driving situations without driver input in Level 4, so theoretically, the driver wouldn’t have to hold the steering wheel.
This will require large amounts of computing power, which is where the NVIDIA DRIVE Orin SoC, capable of 254 tera operations per second (TOPS), comes into play. The SoC will work together with Volvo developed software (Volvo and Swedish company Zenseact will develop the software), with inputs coming from LiDAR tech (developed by Luminar). Luminar and Zenseact have partnered for Sentinel, a new autonomous driving system destined for Volvo cars starting with the new XC90.
A Forbes report dated March 11, 2021, stated that the two companies would activate autonomous highway driving capability at highway speeds (at 60-70 mph) against Level 3 systems of other car companies, which are capped at 30-37 mph. As per Volvo, the feature would be called ‘Highway Pilot’. All SPA2 platform vehicles (including the Polestar 3) will have the necessary hardware for Level 4 autonomous right from the beginning; they will be activated when appropriate.
4. Release Date & Online Sales
The 2022 XC90, unlike the present model, will be made in the United States at the brand’s Charleston facility in South Carolina. Autonews.com reports that production of the hybrid variants will begin in late 2022, with the XC90 Recharge entering production in the first half of 2023.
The Volvo XC90 Recharge will rival the upcoming Mercedes EQS SUV and the electric Cadillac Escalade in the American market when launched. Expect prices of the top-end XC90 Recharge to touch the USD 100,000 mark.
The XC90 Recharge is part of Volvo’s plans to launch five electric models in the coming years before transitioning to a fully electric brand by 2030. Sales of the Recharge electric vehicles will take place exclusively online.
Featured image: Volvo Cars