Buy a Volvo today, tomorrow or indeed at literally any point in the future, and it will be automatically limited to 180km/h, as the Swedish company follows through on promises made last year to limit the top speeds of all its new cars.
Of course it’s all in the name of safety, and Volvo’s goal of completely stopping people from dying or suffering serious injuries in car accidents. In a statement, the company explains speeding is one of the “most common reasons for fatalities in traffic”, and that “on average, people have poor understanding of the dangers around speeding” so can end up driving far too quickly.
“Above certain speeds,” says Volvo, “in-car safety technology and smart infrastructure design are no longer enough to avoid severe injuries and fatalities in the event of an accident”. So it’s taken the decision to restrict the top speeds of all Volvos (but not Polestars) built from now on to 180km/h.
Moreover all new Volvos will now come with a programmable ‘Care Key’, allowing owners to set their own stricter speed limits before, for example, lending their car to renegade teenaged children.
Volvo acknowledges this new policy is somewhat controversial, with some “questioning the rights of car makers to impose such limitations”. However, it says it has an “obligation to continue its tradition of being a pioneer in the discussion around the rights and obligations of car makers to take action that can ultimately save lives, even if this means losing potential customers”.
Malin Ekholm, head of the Volvo Cars Safety Centre, says: “We believe that a car maker has a responsibility to help improve traffic safety. Our speed limiting technology, and the dialogue that it initiated, fits that thinking.”
STORY Tom Harrison