For the past four years, Volvo has been investing billions of dollars in developing new chassis technology that would improve weight distribution, efficiency, and connectivity in its new vehicles. In two weeks, after years of research and development, Volvo will be unleashing the all-new XC90 built on its new modular chassis system, called Scalable Product Architecture at Stockholm.
With SPA, Volvo engineers believe they will have more flexibility during production and design. This new development will allow them to create more spacious interiors and never-before-seen safety features. In addition, SPA will give designers the opportunity to adjust wheelbase, overhang, vehicle height, and use different powertrains and electrical systems on the same platform.
"This has created greater freedom for us to design cars with a confident stance, dynamic proportions and a number of distinctive design signatures. Our three recent concept cars have demonstrated this capability. Even though the all-new XC90 is an entirely different type of car, you will recognize the connection instantly when it is revealed in two weeks, " said Thomas Ingenlath, Senior Vice President Design of Volvo Car Group.
Using SPA technology, Volvo has not only been able to reduce weight, but improve distribution as well, both of which can improve driving feel without sacrificing comfort, safety, or performance. The seven-seater has sliding adjustments on every seat, allowing passengers to change their seating position as desired. In terms of build, the SPA is constructed of high-strength boron steel, which enables Volvo to produce smaller cars that are just as safe as bigger and seemingly more protected cars.
Perhaps the most impressive features of the Scalable Product Architecture are its electrical elements. It has been electronically designed to easily integrate and accept newer features such as microprocessors, sensors, and camera technology. As Volvo creates more safety features, they can easily integrate them into the SPA modular chassis system without having to fully develop a new platform.
"We have created a single nerve system with full control over all the connections in the vehicle. This is unique in the industry," said Mertens.
Another big announcement coming from Volvo is the revelation of the front end of the XC90, which features what Volvo is calling "Thor's Hammer" T-shaped headlights. The design team coined the term "Thor's Hammer" after seeing that the shape of the headlights resembles the Norse thunder god's weapon of destruction.