Skip to main content

Volvo will be at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, but it won’t bring any cars

Volvo Cars at Automobility LA - This is not a car
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Volvo makes some pretty nice cars, but it isn’t bringing any of them to the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show.

The Swedish automaker has declared that it will unveil “nothing” in L.A. Instead of rolling out the latest production model or a fanciful concept car, Volvo hopes to shift the focus from the vehicles themselves to mobility services like carsharing, in-car delivery, and subscription services. Volvo will still have a stand at the show, but the automaker promises there won’t be a single car in sight — just the message “This is not a car.”

“We thought the time was right to really focus on the big changes going on in our industry,” Mårten Levenstram, product strategy boss at Volvo Cars, told Digital Trends in a phone interview. The automaker plans to use the show as a forum to discuss its partnerships with tech companies and the different services that might spring from them, as well as specific technologies like autonomous driving, Levenstram said.

Volvo (along with General Motors) currently supports Amazon Key in-car delivery, in which packages are left in the trunks of cars while the owners are away. It’s pitched as a more convenient alternative to home delivery. Volvo will also lean heavily on Google for the development of its future infotainment systems, and will make features like Google Assistant available even to drivers who don’t have Android phones.

Google and Amazon are powerful brands in their own right, especially at a time when people are more likely to get emotionally invested in their phones than their cars. But Levenstram isn’t concerned that tech companies will overshadow Volvo in its various partnerships.

“I don’t think it’s either or. It’s a combination of Volvo and Amazon that makes it work,” Levenstram said, referencing the in-car delivery service. “We’re not competing with Amazon.” Volvo knows cars (and even once made one called Amazon), after all, and none of these planned services or tech features would exist without them.

“The car will still be important, but it will be used in different ways,” Levenstram said.

Volvo is also experimenting with different ways for customers to access its cars. It recently launched a sub-brand called M tasked with developing an app-based carsharing service, as well as Care by Volvo, a subscription service that lets customers put a new Volvo in their driveways for a flat monthly fee — without having to haggle at a dealership. Volvo expects the rise of self-driving cars, as demonstrated by its recent 360c concept, to further erode the traditional concept of ownership.

The choice of L.A. for Volvo’s car-free manifesto was not an accident. The show was officially rebranded as Automobility L.A. in 2016 and is now styled by organizers as both a tech conference and an auto show. Levenstram noted that the show gives Volvo access to the tech companies it partners with and hopes to partner with. Many of Volvo’s employees working in tech fields are also based in California, Levenstram said. He hopes getting all of these people together in one place will yield some valuable discussions about the direction of the auto industry.

“We think it’s important to discuss the changes, rather than just let them happen,” he said.

Stephen Edelstein
Stephen is a freelance automotive journalist covering all things cars. He likes anything with four wheels, from classic cars…
Stylish and compact, Hyundai’s next concept is tailor-made for Los Angeles
hyundai crossover concept 2019 los angeles auto show 2

Hyundai caught our attention by releasing a pair of dark preview images that give us an early look at its next crossover. The yet-unnamed model will make its official debut during the upcoming 2019 edition of the Los Angeles auto show.

As is often the case, the teaser images ask more questions than they answer. We don't even know what the model will be called yet, and where it will be positioned in Hyundai's growing range of models remains up in the air. What's clear is that the high-riding soft-roader will continue advancing the South Korean firm's design language. The grille stands out with a light-up logo -- a styling cue seemingly worn by every single concept car unveiled in 2019 -- and an insert with a three-dimensional look. Closed when the car is stopped, the grille gradually opens up as speed increases.

Read more
Why CERN’s work on Volvo’s autonomous cars won’t matter much
why cerns work on volvos autonomous cars wont matter uber volvo xc90 self driving car prototype

The world-renowned European Organization for Nuclear Research (better known as CERN) is working to develop "fast machine learning" for self-driving cars, according to CNBC. CERN has some of the best research facilities in the world, and has made breakthroughs in physics. But it's unclear if CERN's new research project will get autonomous cars into production any faster.

CERN is best known for the Large Hadron Collider, the world's largest particle accelerator. The organization's research produces vast amounts of data, so scientists have developed machine learning software with a focus on fast decision making, in order to sift through it. Zenuity -- a joint venture between Volvo Cars and Swedish firm Veoneer -- hopes to use that software to speed up decision making in self-driving cars.

Read more
Best electric car charger deals: $100 off home charging stations
The handle of the Grizzl-E EV charger plugged into a vehicle.

While they may not dominate the market just yet, electric vehicles have become pretty massive in the past few years, with many people seeing them as the perfect alternative to traditional combustion engines. Of course, because EVs aren't as widespread, that means that there aren't always a ton of charging stations around, and sometimes those have inoperative or full chargers, leading to quite a few issues down the road. Luckily, you can get some excellent car chargers at home, which is why we've collected our favorite car charger deals for you below to save you trouble.
Seguma 16Amp Level 1/2 EV Charger -- $120, was $160

If you need a more basic charger, this Level one and two charger from Seguma is a solid option and can deliver 16 amps and 3.84kW, which is pretty substantial. It also comes with a NEMA 6-20 plug and a standardized J1772 connector, which should work on most EV vehicles out there except for Tesla, which has its own connector. There are also some intelligent charging features, which include things such as protection against things like under and over voltage, leakage, and lighting, and it has an automatic cut-off when your EV is fully charged.

Read more