Volvo Cleans Up With Advanced VCC Luxury Estate Concept | Part Two

Volvo VCC Concept Car


Although a production version of the car revealed at Geneva on Tuesday is not likely in the short-term, the VCC shows how a large luxurious V90 might look but with the added appeal of strong environmental credentials. Sven de Smet added: "V stands for versatility and our V cars are the core models of our business. We can now add a strong environmental profile to the characteristics of smartness, elegance, large, fast and economical".

Apart from the various new technologies for its advanced, 2.6 V6 turbo petrol engine economical engine, the VCC also features a new Volvo Ambient Air Cleaner (VAAC) that neutralises the hydrocarbon and NOX emissions produced by up to three other cars. This hoovering or vacuum system even works when the engine is not running via a semi-transparent solar panel roof. Polluted air is drawn in through the normal air intakes found on any car, filters extract particulates and the clean air is pushed through to the fully automatic climate control system used in the passenger compartment. The particulates are stored in a holding canister and when the engine has reached normal working temperature they are injected in to the engine and burnt.

The VCC’s exterior design uses inspiration from Volvo’s rich heritage, such as the glass tailgate from the P1800 ES and recent Safety Concept Car, and the prominent front grille first seen in the 1968 Volvo 164.

Typical Volvo design features - the broad shoulders, smooth front with sharp rear, and V-shaped bonnet – are also instantly recognisable in the VCC. New styling features, like the slim, vertically stacked ‘Static Bending Light’ headlamps have sensors that move two of the lights as the car turns for improved illumination of the road ahead, and better safety. Indicators and door handles also echo the linear style of the headlights.

High-strength steel allows slimmer A-pillars for improved visibility, while the absence of B-pillars with rear opening side doors add style, but for safety reasons are unlikely to be seen in production cars.

Inside, the VCC takes a leap forward in technology. There isn’t, for example, a conventional audio unit; instead the car can instantly connect to films or music stored electronically elsewhere (using W-LAN, 3G or GRPS technology).

Instead of regular air vents, the VCC has concealed outlets to minimise windscreen reflections and mean quieter and more uniform air distribution.

Similarly, the number of controls on the new stylish, ‘floating’ aluminium centre console are reduced to just touch-sensitive controls for the electric windows, LED temperature controls for driver and passenger, and fan.

The satellite navigation system’s map, or any information about any music being played, is superimposed over the digital instruments in front of the driver, when required.

Each passenger has an independent ‘webpad’ to access all the main controls, including the navigation system, listen to their own choice of music, or surf the internet, and can interact between the car, office and home.

Instead of a key, the VCC has a ‘V-Pulse’. This unit, bearing Volvo’s iron mark logo, generates a gentle pulsating ‘heartbeat’ to indicate everything is OK. The frequency of the pulse immediately increases if something is wrong, such as the alarm going off or if the car is left unlocked, and opening it reveals a small display with details of what has happened. The VCC can be locked and unlocked and tailgate raised electrically by gently squeezing the V-Pulse, which responds by immediately raising its ‘heartbeat’, and once in position in the centre console, another gentle press starts the engine.

The VCC’s ultimate luxury theme even extends to the versatile luggage compartment. The load floor slides out electrically for easier loading, with separate heated and chilled compartments beneath, and an integrated safe-box in one side panel and a lift-out overnight case trimmed in leather to match the upholstery, in the other.

The advances extend to the 2.6 litre turbocharged engine and 42-volt power system, which allows automatic ‘start-stop’ motoring saving fuel by cutting the engine while the car, is stationary and automatically restarting it.

The electric drive also gives extra power to minimise turbo-lag and improve engine response at low revs.

Published 5 March 2003 Melanie Carter

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