The Swedish brand has gone ahead with its controversial plan to limit the top speed of its latest models.
- shares

All new Volvo cars will now have a limited top speed of 180km/h, as part of the Swedish car maker’s efforts to reduce serious injuries and fatalities.

On May 20, 2020, Volvo announced it had followed through with plans initially outlined early in 2019 to limit the top speed of all of its new cars and offer owners the ability to electronically restrict top speeds even further.

According to a Volvo Australia spokesperson, local customers should assume "any new car ordered from the factory from now onwards will have the 180km/h limit", with the newly-limited vehicles expected to be delivered here around July or August 2020.

As well as the compulsory speed cap, all new Volvo cars will now come with something called a Care Key, an alternate physical car key which allows owners to set their own speed limits, "before lending their car to other family members or to younger and inexperienced drivers," Volvo explained.

The cars will recognise when it is being unlocked by the Care Key and automatically implement a limited top speed of the owner's choosing.

Volvo acknowledged that the decision to enforce its own top speed limits had proven "controversial" among both customers and the automotive industry, but said it had "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".

Currently, the top speeds on Volvo's cars range from a factory-set limit of 230km/h up to 250km/h in the S60 T8 plug-in hybrid sedan.

Above: Volvo Cars Safety Centre head Malin Elkholm.

"We believe that a car maker has a responsibility to help improve traffic safety," Malin Ekholm, head of the Volvo Cars Safety Centre, said.

"The speed cap and Care Key help people reflect and realise that speeding is dangerous."

Volvo, which has earned five-star ANCAP ratings across all of its Australian vehicle offerings, has been vocal about its plans to work toward its vision of "a future with zero traffic fatalities and serious injuries" in all new Volvo cars globally.

According to data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in the US, Volvo's large SUV, the XC90, has seen zero fatalities globally since it was first introduced in 2004.

The brand, which is headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden, but is a subsidiary of Chinese automotive group Geely, said it will also look to tackle two other key causes of road fatalities, intoxication and distraction, in the near future.

"Apart from speeding, intoxication and distraction are two other primary areas of concern for traffic safety and that constitute the remaining gap towards Volvo Cars’ vision of a future with zero traffic fatalities and serious injuries," it said.

"It is taking action to address all three elements of human behaviour in its safety work, with more features to be introduced in future cars."