In brief: Volvo vehicles have a reputation for their focus on driver and passenger safety. As such, the company is set to introduce a new feature that should reduce the number of traffic accidents they’re involved in. From 2020, all new Volvo cars will have their top speeds limited to 112mph (180km/h).
The move is part of Volvo’s Vision 2020 initiative—a vision that by 2020, no one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car.
The company said the electronic restriction would apply to all cars made from the middle of next year, but there will be some special exceptions where this won’t be implemented, such as in police vehicles.
The speed limit won’t apply to Volvo’s new electric performance sub-brand, Polestar, either. Volvo revealed the Polestar 2 last week—a fully electric vehicle that can do 0 to 62mph in under five seconds, making it a rival to the Tesla Model 3.
This is believed to be the first time an auto manufacturer has electronically restricted the speed of its entire line of cars. 112mph is still much higher than most countries’ speed limits, which range between 70 to 85 mph. Even Germany’s no-limit Autobahns could see a 130km/h restriction introduced at some point in the future.
Twenty-five percent of all traffic fatalities in the United States in 2017 came as a result of speeding, according to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), but it’s unclear how much effect Volvo’s restriction would have on these figures. A big part of the problem stems from the popularity of SUVs, which not only have more horsepower than typical cars but can also inflict more serious injuries on pedestrians.
“While a speed limitation is not a cure-all, it’s worth doing if we can even save one life. We want to start a conversation about whether carmakers have the right or maybe even an obligation to install technology in cars that changes their driver’s behavior,” said Håkan Samuelsson, Volvo’s president and chief executive, said.
Additionally, Volvo is looking at ways to geofence its vehicles so their speed limits can be automatically restricted while traveling near schools and hospitals.