Volvo Cars says its decision to introduce a 180 km/h speed limit on all of its new vehicles does not represent a “Big Brother approach”.
In May 2020, the Swedish firm announced that all of its new models would be limited to 180 km/h, while acknowledging this could mean “losing potential customers”.
Malin Ekholm, head of the Volvo Cars Safety Centre, told Autocar 180 km/h “is still fast, so is it going to be the end of speeding? No, it’s not.”
“It’s a limitation, and there really is no reason to go faster,” she added.
“Everyone talks about speeding, but we wanted to do something to show we’re serious. That will initiate an in-depth dialogue on the subject.”
Ekholm explained Volvo wasn’t attempting to define a “safe speed” for motorists.
“I attended a UN Road Safety Conference in Stockholm this year and there were politicians, traffic authorities and NGOs talking about speeding. Different groups can contribute different things: governments can introduce legislation and enforcement, for example.
“As a car manufacturer, we want to bring to the table the toolbox we have, which includes speed caps, and look at how we can make drivers the best they can be in every single situation. It’s about doing so in a way that’s understood to help and not a Big Brother approach,” she said.
Ekholm admitted the decision had drawn some criticism but added “a lot of our customers are very supportive of what we’re doing”.
“There are always sceptics, because the challenge with human behavioural aspects is that the issue of speed is connected to how our brains are programmed. We’re not programmed to comprehend speed at a high level.
“So how can we do that in a nice way? How do we balance the freedom to move with safety, what does the road map look like and how do we include the sceptics? The speed cap is the first step to looking into what is safe speed – and how do we help you maintain it?” she asked.