Volvo Versatility Concept Car (VCC). Designer - Jose Diaz de la Vega
"Elegance and high quality is what ultimately seduces customers"
The quote comes from JosÈ Diaz de la Vega, Creative Director Strategic Design at Volvo Cars. The Versatility Concept Car is a design vision of just how that seduction might be interpreted in a future Volvo V-Range car.
The exterior design of the Versatility Concept Car (VCC) is dramatic and simple at one and the same time – perhaps a reflection of the fact that two of Volvo’s design studios have joined forces in its creation: Barcelona in Spain and G–teborg in Sweden.
A number of characteristic design elements ensure that no one is going to miss the fact that this is a Volvo:
- The broad shoulders or "catwalk", even more accentuated here than on the Volvo V70 and S80.
- The soft yet tense frontal surfaces connect with the "sheer" surface of the rear
- The characteristic V-shape of the bonnet starting with the grille, develops into the "Volvo bridge" (cantrail)
Some of the inspiration has been obtained from Volvo’s heritage: the distinctive rear design with a glass tailgate, also featured in the Safety Concept Car, traces its roots to the 1971 Volvo P1800 ES. The large, distinguished grille is descended from the 1968 Volvo 164.
"The Volvo 164’s grille forges a direct link to Volvo luxury, but a strong grille design is also an important display of brand heritage," explains JosÈ Diaz de la Vega.
Among the most noticeable features in the front are the slim, vertically stacked headlamps. The inner of the two lamps uses a system known as "Static Bending Light" with three light units aimed at different angles. The topmost points straight ahead and performs as a conventional dipped beam.
As the car turns to one side or the other, sensors linked to the steering activate units two and finally three to illuminate the direction in which the car is turning. This system carves out a superior light pattern in the dark when driving on twisting roads, thus boosting safety standards.
The VCC design is also characterised by the absence of a B-pillar, made possible by hinging the back doors at the rear instead of the front. This design promotes the display of the remarkable interior, but is, for safety reasons, not intended for production cars.
The interior of the VCC is an expression of Scandinavian luxury translated into Volvo’s own design language: a sensation of well-being that stems from high-quality materials, light, airy interiors and an all-round "sensorial experience".
The complete form language is the expression of elegant simplicity. This is an evolution of Volvo Cars’ current product programs, in particular the XC90 instrument panel. By minimising the number of design elements, the visual pollution is reduced. The surface finishes and colours harmonise with the other elements of the interior. "Our aim is to create an atmosphere of total tranquillity for our customers", says JosÈ Diaz de la Vega.
The interior of the Versatility Concept Car has no visible conventional air vents. Instead, air is distributed via concealed outlets. The latter prevents unwanted reflections in the windscreen and provides silent andmore uniform air distribution.
The fixed-centre steering wheel allows more controls to be positioned on the wheel, including selector buttons for the Automated Shifted Manual gearbox. The ergonomic benefits are that the switches and controls are always in the same position. Safety advantages include the possibility for the airbag to be designed for optimum performance.
The use of high-strength steel in the construction of the A-pillars allows a slimmer design for significantly improved visibility – without sacrificing safety.
Manufactured in anodised aluminium, the centre console floats gracefully through the car – but it never reaches the dashboard. A two-centimetre gap divides the slim centre console from the dashboard, creating a feeling of lightness and space.
The unique and luxuriously designed seating arrangement is beautifully crafted using the traditions of the saddle-maker. Thick saddle-quality Havana hide for looks and feel, complimented with Tempur-foam pads ( a Swedish invention ) for comfort.
The front seats are mounted on rails integrated into the outer sill panel and centre tunnel console. This provides a flat and unobstructed floor for the rear passengers. The safety belts are fully integrated into the seat frames, enabling the creation of a design without any B-pillars.
As part of the functionality of the rear seats they slide individually, powered by electric motors to provide optimum flexibility between luggage capacity and legroom.
The headrests fold to improve visibility, and concealed beneath the armrest is an optional pop-up integrated child seat for children from three years of age.
The roof panel features an X-frame with ambient lighting. It is operated by slider controls in the overhead console. An illuminated IC (Inflatable Curtain) logo offers another reminder of the safety system incorporated in the roof panel.
The solar panel in the roof is semi-transparent and enhances the feeling of spaciousness as well as providing power for the Volvo Ambient Air Cleaner (VAAC) system. This continually cleans the air within the car even when the engine is not running.
The door panels contain large leather-lined foldout storage compartments, together with ambient lighting, which illuminates the top edges of the door insert.
The grab handles are produced in brushed anodised aluminium with contrasting polished edges to compliment the centre console. The door inserts are trimmed in the same saddle quality leather as is used on the seats and instrument panel upper.
As a continuation of the saddle-leather theme used on the rest of the upholstery, the same type of material is applied to cover the floor, underlining the concept of a clean and uncluttered interior.