The 2022 Volvo XC90 is deeply into its second generation, having been on sale since 2015, but we expect it will see some major changes in reinventing the next third generation of electric cars soon. (At least, as early as 13 years ago, it took Volvo to redesign the original XC90.) The full-size SUV has always been the best in the Volvo range, but now the automaker will push it into a true luxury model, with a wagon-inspired design. And a new “real” name inspired by Norse mythology.
Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson previously confirmed to MotorTrend That the company’s new flagship model “will have a more baby-like name” and that the brand wants to evoke its legendary Swedish and Nordic roots. The rumored new “Embla” name comes from brand papers submitted by Volvo. In regional mythology, Embla is Askar’s companion in a story similar to that of Adam and Eve in the Bible.
The SUV is said to be the first of several new Volvo cars to be inspired by the new design approach previewed in the Volvo Recharge Concept as shown above, so it’s possible Volvo will adopt the Embla name to symbolize the car that will become the future mother of Volvo’s lineup and brand commercial. Whether or not Volvo decides to name another car after “Askr,” we’ll just have to wait and see.
new electrical engineering
The new Volvo Embla’s styling will be very close to the Concept Recharge that debuted in 2021, translating the brand’s long, sleek body lines into a larger, full-size SUV package, similar to the current XC90 SUV. The new architecture pushes the wheels further out from the corners of the car, making way for a long-range battery pack that’s expected to power all four wheels via hub-mounted electric motors.
The camber above the windshield contains a lidar sensor for the vehicle’s advanced safety and driver assistance systems, paired with a full suite of 360-degree sensors scattered around the exterior. Volvo claims that its future vehicles, such as the Embla, will feature a new system, currently called “Ride”, that will be able to offer some level of eventual hands-free autonomous driving capability, similar to GM’s Super Cruise system.
Simple “elegant” interior design
To match the new luxury brand, Volvo will furnish Embla’s cabin with natural and sustainable materials, with a design approach described as “Scandinavian minimalist elegance”. On the Recharge Concept, a 15-inch touchscreen extends across the dashboard, with a configurable digital instrument cluster and a head-up display in front of the driver. The new purpose-built EV platform opens the cabin to more passenger and cargo space than Volvo’s current offerings, and we expect it to feel even more bulky with the feature or option of a large glass roof.
Thanks to the new platform and positioning in the upcoming Embla, we expect Volvo to eventually offer an optional third row of seats, although the Recharge concept doesn’t have one. However, the concept previewed the front bolster seats to improve rear legroom, as well as a cubby bag for front passengers, which could feature on the production car.
It remains unclear what Volvo will do with its future lineup, for sure, such as switching to real names from its traditional alphanumeric system. We think the Embla will replace the current XC90, but it will upgrade itself to be more luxurious than before, while touting record performance numbers for the brand thanks to its all-new architecture.
We expect that most of Volvo’s future production of electric vehicles will come from Ridgeville, South Carolina, where this will likely be built as well. Volvo has previously suggested that we will see a model based on the recharge concept by the end of 2022, so it is assumed that more details about the new Embla will be available soon.