Design and Technology at Heart of Volvo Car Group’s New in-car Experience
Sleek Scandinavian design and intuitive technology to reinvent the car interior
ROCKLEIGH, N.J. (Feb. 27, 2014) - Volvo Car Group will use the Geneva Motor Show to reveal its new in-car control system, which is designed around a large tablet-like touch screen that will simplify and enhance the way drivers operate their cars.
The touch screen replaces the traditional selection of buttons and controls in the center stack with one clean and sleek control panel. It will blend established tablet functionality, such as swiping and pinching, with new solutions that are specially designed for the in-car environment. It also interacts with the digital instrument cluster in front of the driver.
“The basic idea is to organize controls and information in a perfectly intuitive and user-friendly way. Everything is exactly where you expect it to be, making the drive more enjoyable, efficient, and safe,” says Thomas Ingenlath, senior vice president design at Volvo Car Group.
This groundbreaking driver experience will be introduced in the next car generation, starting with the all-new Volvo XC90 later in 2014.
“The new user interface is designed to create a smooth, logical and safe interaction between the driver and the car,” says Ingenlath. “This goes far beyond just putting a large tablet in the center of the dashboard. We have created a digital environment that is fully integrated in the car.”
Logical stack of four ‘tiles’
The layout on the portrait screen can be described as a stack of flexible "tiles," each displaying a key functionality. Navigation is on the top, followed by media and telephone.
A thin notification band is located above the tiles, while the digital climate controls become the foundation of the pile.
“Information, navigation and media are high up and easy to keep an eye on. The phone controls, application icons and climate controls are located low, comfortable to reach and touch. Using the screen is so logical that it will be part of your muscle memory very quickly,” explains Ingenlath.
The smooth user interface also includes thumb-reach controls on the steering wheel and extensive voice-control possibilities.
The new user interface is designed so that the tiles on the touch screen expand on interaction. When one of the tiles expands to display required information, the others are compressed, still visible and instantly accessible.
“Having all functions present all the time makes the touch screen exceptionally user-friendly. The spacious layout also promotes smooth interaction without distraction,” says Ingenlath.
Crystal clear but calm
“Creating this crystal clear, yet calm, environment is a core part of our digital craftsmanship. It is fine for an ordinary tablet to fight for your full attention but a touch screen in a car is very different. Information must be clear and user-friendly, without turning up the visual volume so much that you risk losing focus on the road. This also makes it easier to make really urgent information, such as a warning, much more distinctive,” concludes Ingenlath.
Volvo Car Group to Unveil Concept Estate at Geneva Motor Show
ROCKLEIGH, N.J. (Feb. 27, 2014) - Volvo Car Group will use the Geneva Motor Show to reveal the third in a series of concept cars – the Concept Estate – that continues the widely admired exterior design language revealed in the first two concepts, but for the first time reveals how the interior of Volvo’s forthcoming models will both look and function.
The Volvo Concept Estate’s most striking interior design feature is its simplicity. The traditional selection of buttons and controls have been replaced by one large tablet-like touch screen control panel in the center console, bringing the interior firmly into the 21st century.
“The basic idea is to organize controls and information in a perfectly intuitive and user-friendly way. Everything is exactly where you expect it to be, making the drive more enjoyable, efficient and safe,” says Thomas Ingenlath, senior vice president design at Volvo Car Group.
In association with Volvo’s specially designed software, the touch screen will be the main control panel for Volvo’s new in-car user experience. It replaces all buttons and controls except for a few crucial functions such as volume, play/pause, hazard warning and window heaters. It also interacts seamlessly with the digital instrument cluster in front of the driver.
“Not having to deal with buttons and controls for a growing number of functionalities is like being freed from a pair of handcuffs,” says Robin Page, design director interior of Volvo Car Group. “This has made it possible to build a beautiful interior architecture around the portrait screen. The concept car showcases how this user interface will be integrated in our new car generation.”
Volvo is the company that redefined the estate car by combining functionality, sturdiness and practicality with performance. The V70 and XC70 are among the most respected estates on the market and the new Concept Estate points to how the company could capitalize on this heritage in its forthcoming models.
Volvo has been on a winning streak with its concept cars. The Concept Coupé was named "Car of the Show" by a leading German auto magazine at the Frankfurt Motor Show, while the Concept XC Coupé received the prestigious "Eyes ON Design" award at the Detroit Motor Show.
Global attention on Volvo’s concept cars has been intensifying as they provide the first significant clues as to how the all-new and much-anticipated XC90 SUV and subsequent cars will look. The XC90 is due to be launched later this year.
Learning from history
The rear of Concept Estate echoes the design of the Volvo 1800 ES from the early 1970s.
“The 1800-models are iconic Volvos, renowned for their beautiful forms and detailing. However, using elements from their exterior and interior has nothing to do with being retro. We are using these subtle links to a glorious past to create a future in which sheer beauty becomes a recognized part of Volvo’s identity,” says Ingenlath.
The subtle inspiration from the 1800-models is also evident on several details inside the Concept Estate, such as the two-spoke steering wheel, the instrument panel and the dials.
Page explains: “The first four decades of the Volvo history was characterized by classic craftsmanship and high quality materials. We are merging this vital part of our brand DNA with the more recent focus on technology and smart functionality. In the Concept Estate we also add the creative side of Scandinavia. The result is an exotic interior with genuine materials and beautiful detailing.”
Beautiful and different
Applying this approach to the iconic estate car – which is the essence of versatile Volvo functionality – creates a car that is both beautiful and different.
The generous dash to axle ratio, low hood, sleek silhouette and the glass roof all contribute to the impression of a dynamic, yet capable three-door sports wagon. The contrast between the deep, dark brown pear color and the bright, five-spoke, 21-inch wheels contributes to the modern, cool aura.
Just like the recent Concept Coupé and the Concept XC Coupé, the face of the Volvo Concept Estate is characterized by a new topography on the hood and the "floating" grille, flanked by headlights featuring new T-shaped DRL light guides. The rear light signature is another distinctive element in Volvo Cars’ new design direction.
Swedish inside and out
Extrovert and colorful trends within contemporary Swedish lifestyle and design have been powerful sources of inspiration for the design team. Occupants in all four seats are embraced by orange seat belts, and the exclusive, woven wool carpets from the Swedish designer Kasthall have the same deep accent color.
The crystal gear leaver from Orrefors/Kosta Boda also has an orange glow, while the checkered black and white wool textile on the headliner and rear sides of the front seats adds playfulness to the "room."
“Creativity is thriving in Swedish society. This includes design and technology as well as the fashion, music and art scene. We have used all this as inspiration to create a new, exciting way to express Sweden’s soul,” says Ingenlath.
The feel of a Scandinavian living room
Refined, handcrafted details, such as an instrument panel covered by thick, naturally tanned saddle leather from Tärnsjö, inlays made of waxed, naturally aged wood and machined copper details, also emphasize the exclusive Swedish atmosphere inside Concept Estate.
“The interior is exceptionally vivid. Yet the glass roof and seats covered by light, soft Bridge of Wear leather help to retain that bright and cozy feeling that is the hallmark of a Swedish living room. A place that makes you feel so comfortable that you are reluctant to leave,” says Page.
Specially designed Swedish ‘kubb’ game
The ambiance might inspire occupants to stop for a picnic and game of Swedish “kubb.” The specially designed game set is visible through the load floor in the back.
“Don’t know the rules? No problem. They are printed on the transparent floor. And rain is no excuse. You will find exclusive Stutterheim raincoats in the back of the car as well,” explains Page.
Volvo's Partner Suppliers in the creation of the Concept Coupé, Concept XC Coupé and Concept Estate:
- Tires: Pirelli
- Wheels: Uniwheels
- Leather: Bridge of Wear
- Exterior paint: Axalta Coating Systems
- Carpet: Kasthall
- Gear shift: Kongsberg
- Gear shift glass: Orrefors
- Exterior light: Valeo
- Belts: Autoliv
- Interior ambient light: 3M
Volvo V40 D4 with new Drive-E powertrains:
The most powerful, lowest emission engine in its segment
Volvo Car Group’s new Drive-E powertrains – offering a world-class blend of drivability and low CO2 emissions – are now also available for the Volvo V40 and V40 Cross Country. The CO2 emissions of the 190 hp Volvo V40 D4 with manual gearbox are down to an outstanding 85 g/km – an offer no competitor is even close to matching.
“The Volvo V40 D4 offers a massive 80 hp more driving pleasure than other cars in the segment with CO2 emissions at that level. This is yet more proof that the Drive-E powertrains take efficient driving pleasure to a new dimension,” says Michael Fleiss, Vice President Powertrain at Volvo Car Group.
Initially, the V40 can be equipped with two engines from the four-cylinder Drive-E engine family: the 245 hp petrol turbo T5 and the turbo diesel D4 with 190 hp. An 8-speed automatic gearbox contributes to the refined drive.
“Their outstanding take-off and responsiveness, combined with a smooth engine sound, will make the nimble V40 cars even more fun to drive, without compromising on modern customers’ demand for superb fuel economy and minimised CO2-emissions,” adds Michael Fleiss.
To deliver the desired responsive, smooth and fuel-efficient drivability, the Drive-E engines are teamed either with Volvo Cars’ new eight-speed automatic gearbox or an enhanced six-speed manual tuned for improved fuel economy. Versions with the automatic gearbox have paddles on the steering wheel for manual gear shifting.
Diesel with ground-breaking i-Art technology
The D4 turbo diesel comes with 190 hp and 400 Nm of torque. The engine features world-first i-ART technology with pressure feedback from each fuel injector instead of using a traditional single pressure sensor in the common rail.
Each injector has an intelligent chip on top of it that monitors injection pressure. Using this information, the self-adapting i-ART system makes sure that the ideal amount of fuel is injected during each combustion cycle.
“The combination of injection pressure at 2,500 bar and i-ART technology gives the customer an engine with high performance, improved fuel economy and considerably lower emissions,” says Michael Fleiss.
The diesel also features refinements such as a state-of-the-art twin-turbo, reduced friction and a smart valve solution on the cooling system for a more rapid heat-up phase after a cold start.
V40 D4 with fuel consumption at 3.3 l/100 km
Fuel consumption in a Volvo V40 D4 with a manual gearbox is down to 3.3 l/100 km (EU Combined), which corresponds to CO2 emissions at 85 g/km. The figure for the V40 Cross Country is 4.0 l/100 km (104 g/km) with the manual gearbox.
The four-cylinder petrol turbo T5 has 245 hp and 350 Nm of torque. Fuel consumption in a Volvo V40 with the 8-speed automatic is 5.8 l/100 km (136 g/km). All figures are preliminary.
Introduced in 2013
The first two-litre, four-cylinder Drive-E engines (called Volvo Engine Architecture [VEA] during the development phase) were launched in autumn 2013. From May 2014, all new Volvo models, except the XC90, will be available with engines from the new powertrain family.