All new Volvo cars will have a limited top speed of 180kph, the Swedish car maker announced today. The safety first company will also come with a Care Key. The key will allow the owner to set further limits to the car’s top speed. This for instance could be used to limit the top speed before lending the car to a another person, such as a family member or young, inexperienced driver.
After a 19 year old was clocked driving 308kph on the QEW about two weeks ago, this announcement by Volvo is notable.
Volvo has long been known for building safety into its vehicles, but apparently this speed limit measure is not without controversy. Some people are questioning the company’s right to cap top speed.
“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.”
As an automotive journalist, I have tested cars for many years. It didn’t take long to understand how limited our driving skills are, especially when testing sports cars made by Porsche, Mercedes, and other high end manufacturers. These cars, and many others including some pickup trucks have extreme horsepower that can only be used legally at a track.
It’s an interesting move by Volvo. But it needs to be matched by common sense, better driver training and testing and awareness of how things can go so wrong at high speeds.