All-new Volvo XC90 debuts scalable architecture

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Volvo’s recently launched, all-new XC90 is the first car in its range to be built on the Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) modular chassis technology, as developed in-house by the Swedish manufacturer.

“SPA and the XC90 are firm evidence of our Volvo-by-Volvo strategy. The XC90’s outstanding combination of luxury, space, versatility, efficiency and safety will bring the SUV segment into a new dimension, just as the original XC90 did in 2002,” states Dr Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President, Research and Development of Volvo Car Group. “It also gives us a fresh technological start. Around 90% of the components in the all-new XC90, and upcoming models, are new and unique.”

The new SPA chassis technology is claimed to help reduce weight and improve weight distribution, ultimately improving drivability without compromising on ride comfort. Volvo also states that the technology helps bolster the company’s world-leading reputation for safety without compromising on design, size or weight, thanks to the extensive use of high-strength boron steel.

The SPA technology also extends to an innovative electrical architecture that elevates the car’s intelligence level significantly. It is designed to make it easy to integrate new technology within fast-moving areas such as microprocessor, sensor and camera technology. This facilitates the introduction of new accident-preventing safety solutions – and enables rapid introduction of new multimedia and connectivity options.

In addition to the product-related advantages of the scalable architecture, Volvo also states that the concept offers a significant industrial benefit, in that all models built on the SPA platform, can be built on the same production line irrespective of complexity.

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Graham Heeps is a regular contributor, and knows the dynamics industry well, having previously edited the title. Graham also writes regularly on automotive and motorsport subjects for other magazines from Vehicle Dynamics International’s publisher, UKi Media & Events (as well as editing Tire Technology International), and contributes to a range of online and print publications in the UK, USA and Canada.

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