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every volvo sold from 2020 onwards will only top out at 180kph
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Every Volvo sold from 2020 onwards will “only” top out at 180kph

With its Vision 2020 looming, the carmaker is shifting into higher gear to avoid any fatalities or serious injuries in its cars

Dinesh Appavu Photo

Dinesh Appavu

5 Mar 2019


Volvo’s Vision 2020 boldly claims that “Our vision is that by 2020 no one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car.” Ballsy stuff from a carmaker but if there’s anyone capable of making it happen, everyone’s money will be on Volvo.

Part of that vision involves limiting speeding and the Swedish marque has announced that beginning 2020, every new Volvo will have its speed limited to 112mph. Before you lose your shit, that’s still a very rapid 180kph; well above the speed limit here.

For reference sakes, the current unrestricted top speeds of the T6 and T8 variants of the XC90 and S90 are 230kph and 250kph; a pretty significant reduction.

This move is very much a core component in achieving its Vision 2020 that also includes measures such as geofencing to enforce speed restrictions in school zones.

Volvo’s Vision 2020 was announced back in 2014 and with the deadline looming, the company has made the speed limit announcement that will take effect next year.

Electronically limited top speeds aren’t exactly new. Automakers have been applying them to cars for years, with 155mph (250kph) being the accepted “gentlemen’s agreement” between German carmakers. An argument can be made that continuous cruising at that speed is unrealistic in most countries anyways, so will motorists whip out the pitchforks and cry for Swedish blood?

Furthermore, considering Volvos aren’t track toys, 180kph is plenty quick in the real world. Realistically, only Germans that ply the unrestricted sections of the Autobahn would feel the pinch and that’s only if they buy a 2020 model year Volvo.

Volvo insists the speed limit will solve the first of the three main areas of concern in driving today; speeding, driving under the influence and driving while distracted. It has a couple of solutions for the latter two and will announce them later this month but for the speed issue, limiting is the answer.

According to them, the safety technology and smart infrastructure designed to withstand impacts are simply unable to cope with the forces generated in an impact above a certain speed. Citing the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration in the United States, it demonstrates that 25 per cent of all traffic fatalities in the US in 2017 were caused by… you guessed it, speeding.

Volvo’s chief executive officer, Hakan Samuelsson, readily admits that the speed limitation isn’t a permanent cure for the issue. The aftermarket could easily disable the speed restriction if they wanted to.

Still, nobody should actually complain about a 180kph top speed; especially in a family-oriented vehicle such as a Volvo. As for those Autobahn stormers, they’re probably in BMWs anyways with one hand on the high-beam stalk to flash anyone out of the way.



TAGS: Volvo safety

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