You can't go really fast, anymore, in a Volvo.
Volvo has added to its reputation as the most progressive European car brand.
The Swedes have always been known for obsessive safety awareness, but Volvo’s latest product innovation moves into the realm of containment. More accurately: limiting your ability to drive at high speeds.
Volvo’s Vision 2020 project has the lofty goal of preventing all road deaths in the brand’s new cars and preventing owners from cruising at very high speeds, is now considered a crucial part of that ambition.
The speed limit in question is 180 kph. For road safety activists that speed would still appear a touch too generous, but Volvo’s engineers believe that its current active safety and autonomous driving technologies, make 180 kph a safe top speed cap for the entire vehicle portfolio: from XC40 to XC90
Road safety lobbyists believe that most modern vehicles are simply too fast and powerful, easily overburdening their braking abilities in an emergency situation. As both vehicle weight and performance has increased over the last decade, the argument is not without merit, when speeds beyond 180 kph need to be decelerated.
Volvo has never overly marketed itself as a performance vehicle brand, hence the 180 kph speed limit isn’t much of an issue for the company’s marketing strategy. The new speed governing feature is now standardised in all Volvos and with Polestar no longer part of the brand’s internal-combustion range, it doesn’t create any marketing inconsistency.
“We believe that a carmaker has a responsibility to help improve traffic safety,” is the opinion of Volvo’s Safety Centre boss, Malin Ekholm.
“Our speed-limiting technology, and the dialogue that it initiated, fits that thinking. The speed cap and Care Key help people reflect and realise that speeding is dangerous, while also providing extra peace of mind and supporting better driver behaviour.”
Although most of Volvo’s customers are accommodating of this new limitation to the performance of their vehicles, it will be interesting to see how German drivers respond. With an allocation of highway infrastructure without any speed limits, Germany has always been the empirical counter to any argument which tables excessively high cruising speeds, as being universally lethal.