There are several Volvos out there that’ll top out at an electronically limited 155 mph (250 km/h), but from now on, all newly built cars will have an even stricter limiter. The measure was initially announced in early March 2019 and it’s now coming into effect globally across the automaker’s entire lineup. Going forward, the Geely-owned Swedish brand will set the top speed limiter to 112 mph (180 km/h).
That shouldn’t be much of an issue considering there are extremely few places on Earth where you can go higher than that without breaking the law. Aside from certain sections of the Autobahn in Germany where there are no speed restrictions, Wikipedia tells us the Isle of Man “is the only jurisdiction without a general speed limit on rural two-lane roads.”
Gallery: 2019 Volvo S60
While Volvo’s decision won’t be much of an issue for law-abiding drivers, it’s a different story when it comes to owners eager to push their cars to the limit on a race track. It’s safe to say you won’t be seeing many S60 T8s doing 113 mph at the local circuit, but even Volvo admits its decision has “proven to be controversial.”
There’s also the issue of not being allowed to fully exploit the potential of a product you own, but Volvo argues limiting cars to 112 mph represents a decision taken to decrease the risks of accidents caused by speeding. The company is taking a further step by selling all new vehicles with a Care Key, allowing owners to program additional top speed limitations. This feature comes in handy when a younger member of the family or an inexperienced driver is about to get behind the wheel.
The stricter speed limiter imposed by Volvo is part of an ambitious Safety Vision objective – “Our vision is that no one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car.” That said, going faster than 112 mph in a Volvo is still technically possible by driving the 155-mph Polestar 1, a plug-in hybrid sports coupe based on a shortened S90.
Every Volvo model now comes with a 180kph speed limit and Care Key
Every new Volvo car now comes with a limited top speed of 180kph, as Volvo Cars delivers on its promise made last year to introduce such a limitation and goes beyond regulation and legislation to help close the remaining gap to zero serious injuries and fatalities in traffic.
Apart from the speed cap, every Volvo car will now also come with a Care Key, which allows Volvo drivers to set additional limitations on the car’s top speed, for example before lending their car to other family members or to younger and inexperienced drivers.
Together, the 180kph speed limitation and Care Key send a strong signal about the dangers of speeding, underlining Volvo Cars position as a worldwide leader in safety. Both features illustrate how car makers can take active responsibility for striving to achieve zero traffic fatalities by supporting better driver behaviour.
“We believe that a car maker has a responsibility to help improve traffic safety,” said Malin Ekholm, head of the Volvo Cars Safety Centre. “Our speed limiting technology, and the dialogue that it initiated, fits that thinking. The speed cap and Care Key help people reflect and realise that speeding is dangerous, while also providing extra peace of mind and supporting better driver behaviour.”
The top speed limit has proven to be controversial since it was announced, with some observers questioning the rights of car makers to impose such limitations through available technology.
Yet Volvo Cars believes 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.
The problem with speeding is that above certain speeds, in-car safety technology and smart infrastructure design are no longer enough to avoid severe injuries and fatalities in the event of an accident.
This is why speed limits are in place in most western countries, yet speeding remains ubiquitous and one of the most common reasons for fatalities in traffic. Millions of people still get speeding tickets every year.
Research shows that on average, people have poor understanding of the dangers around speeding. As a result, many people often drive too fast and have poor speed adaption in relation to the traffic situation.
Apart from speeding, intoxication and distraction are two other primary areas of concern for traffic safety and that constitue the remaining gap towards Volvo Cars’ vision of a future with zero traffic fatalities and serious injuries. 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.