The Volvo XC90 Excellence concept car series – including the Lounge Console and Excellence Child Seat with an integrated baby capsule – could become a reality.
Volvo Cars Safety Centre acting senior director, Jan Ivarsson, told CarAdvice in an exclusive interview at the 2016 New York motor show that the Swedish brand is evaluating whether buyers are eager enough for the innovative luxury model features to head to production.
The capsule system is said to have “completely re-imagined how children could travel safely in cars in the future”, with Volvo stating that the brand's position is that “small children should travel rearward facing as long as possible (at least up to the age of 3 or 4)”. The other Volvo XC90 concept model featured an ottoman, desk, or monitor with reclining rear seat, which Volvo said was designed to offer busy occupants comfort and convenience at the expense of the front seat.
Ivarsson didn’t confirm if the ottoman version is heading to the assembly room floor, but he indicated the individualised twin rear seats in the XC90 will “roll out on the market” in a new production trim known as Excellence.
When asked if he thought there was a strong call for the baby capsule system, Ivarsson confirmed that to be the case.
“It’s a way of travelling together with your family in a more high-end type of fashion where you have a good view of the child if you’re sitting in the rear,” Ivarsson said.
“Or if you’re driving you have a complete view of what is happening. It’s easy to fix things, as well, instead of having a child in the rear and without having the possibility to really overlook what is happening,” he said.
Younger children are required to travel in rearward-facing child seats, and that’s the point of this capsule set-up. As such, it would seem a silly option to have for only six months.
As such, Ivarsson indicated that if a production version eventuated, buyers could get a standard car with a regular seat in place, but store it when the capsule system is needed, and when the child is old enough to sit in a forward-facing seat in the rear seat, “put the standard seat back and use it as a traditional Volvo”.
The clever aspect of the seating system for new parents is that it can be installed through the front door and then swivelled rearward. And when you stop to go to a café or the shops, the capsule can be removed and used as part of a stroller.
Ivarsson suggested that Volvo customers appear to be interested in such an idea.
“There has been a lot of interest in this. We have to test new things, and we have been offering child seat type offers for a long time, but we thought we should take it up to a higher level, a level of excellence as well. And it has been a large success,” he said.
When asked what country or countries have been the most eager, Ivarsson said that the United States was the answer.
“They had a demo in LA, not long ago, and there was great interest in it,” he said.
“We are evaluating the interest we’ve had from the exposure, and we’re thinking of putting it in to production, but I don't have any firm plan of this right now.
“It’s still a concept, but we think this will be something positive for our customer,” he said.