New Volvo Chassis Allows More Design Freedom
In Stockholm today, Volvo unveiled new technology that will allow more vehicles to be built form the same standard platform.
Volvo’s Scalable Platform Architecture (SPA) chassis technology has just been unveiled as part of the new 2016 XC90, the first post-Ford era new vehicle from the company. SPA has been four years in the making and was developed in-house as part of Volvo’s $11B transformation plan which brings logistics purchasing and operations in-house.
SPA allows for freedom in design. With only one point in the chassis being fixed, more possibilities are available in wheelbase, overhang, vehicle height, and the height of the front of the vehicle. Use of high-strength boron steel reduces weight and improves weight distribution allowing for a more pleasurable driving experience.
Safety is also improved with the use of the lightweight steel, strengthening the chassis while allowing it to be more compact. The SPA also allows for greater safety through flexibility in the electrical architecture allowing for seamless addition of new and improved safety technologies, sensors, cameras, processors, etc.
The Chinese-owned automaker is also now able to offer, for the first time, a seven seat plug-in hybrid to be sold in the US, with the debut of the XC90. With SPA they have managed to eliminate intrusion of battery packs into the cargo and passenger areas—most automakers continue to struggle with this.
Volvo reaps industrial benefits with the SPA as well by being able to build all of their vehicles from the 60-cluster and up on the same production line.
Ready to drive the XC90? Volvo will be offering two powertrains in the US bound XC90’s. Likely the most popular option will be the 316hp T6 supercharged and turbocharged gasoline engine. Volvo will also be offering their plug-in hybrid equipped with a 316hp 2-liter four cylinder driving the front wheels and an 80hp electric motor driving the rear combining for a net 400hp.