As promised, Volvo is currently rolling out the 180 km/h speed limit for all newly manufactured vehicles, but even the reduced speed limit won’t make a significant difference in improving safety, said Volvo Cars Safety Centre boss Malin Ekholm.

In an interview with Autocar, she said: “180 km/h is still fast, so is it going to be the end of speeding? No, it’s not.” Volvo is going ahead with it anyway because Ekholm said it’s simply a limitation, “and there really is no reason to go faster than 180 km/h. 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.”

There’s been a great deal of input from the consumer side, and the reactions have been largely cynical. But Ekholm countered: “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?”


Read our opinion piece about the 180 km/h speed cap, here

Volvo hasn’t quite determined what the safe speed is in the current era of motoring, but deciding on a number requires cooperation from multiple parties, from politicians to traffic authorities and NGOs. “Different groups can contribute different things: governments can introduce legislation and enforcement, for example.”

Ekholm added: “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.”

“Twenty years ago, it wasn’t necessarily fun to drive fast, because it wasn’t comfortable. Now cars are fantastic and behave the same at any speed, so how can we translate the old signals you got that you were going very fast into a modern context?”