The advancement of electric vehicles constitutes the biggest change in the history of the automobile. For the first time in more than a century, cars move without a gasoline or diesel engine and have a battery in the floor, changing the car at its very core.

With the introduction of the fully electric Volvo XC40 SUV next month, Volvo Cars is not just launching its first fully electric car – in true Volvo style and commitment, it is also introducing one of the safest cars on the road, despite a fresh set of challenges presented by the absence of an internal combustion engine.

“Regardless of what drives a car forward, be it an electric machine or combustion engine, a Volvo must be safe,” says Malin Ekholm, head of safety at Volvo Cars. “The fully electric XC40 will be one of the safest cars we have ever built.”

While building on the exceptional safety standards of the original Volvo XC40, Volvo Cars safety engineers needed to completely redesign and reinforce the frontal structure of the vehicle to deal with the absence of an engine, meet Volvo Cars’ exceedingly high safety requirements and also help keep the drive and passengers as safe as they would be in any other Volvo.

“The fundamentals around safety are the same for this car as for any other Volvo. People are inside, and the car needs to be designed to be safe for them,” says Malin Ekholm.

In order to help keep passengers safe and the battery intact in the event of a collision, Volvo Cars has developed a new and unique safety structure for passengers and battery alike in the new XC40. The battery is protected by a safety cage which is made of a frame of extruded aluminum that has been embedded in the middle of the car’s body structure, creating a built-in crumple zone around the battery.

The battery’s placement in the floor of the car also has the benefit of lowering the center of gravity of the car, for better protection against roll-overs.

Meanwhile, the car’s body has not just been reinforced in the front, but also at the rear of the vehicle. Here, the electric power train has been integrated in the body structure to better distribute the collision forces away from the cabin and reduce the strain on people inside the car.

In terms of active safety systems, the battery-powered Volvo XC40 is also introducing new technology. It is the first Volvo model equipped with a new Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) sensor platform with software developed by Zenuity, a joint venture company owned by Volvo Cars and Veoneer.

The new ADAS platform is a modern active safety system that consists of an array of cameras, radars, and ultrasonic sensors. Because of its scalable nature it can be developed further and lays the foundation for the future introduction of autonomous drive technology.

Volvo Cars will reveal more details about the fully electric XC40 in the coming weeks, before it will be first shown to the public on October 16.

Check back with Culver City Volvo Cars for information on the upcoming New Electric Volvo XC40

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