Call the Governor: Volvo to Tamp Down Its Top Speed

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
call the governor volvo to tamp down its top speed

In jurisdictions that allow motorists some semblance of freedom (*cough* not future Europe *cough*), speed limiters aren’t a common topic of conversation. But they do exist, and many an American pickup owner has hit the governor while passing motorists in open territory.

Volvo Cars isn’t concerned about your gross vehicle weight rating, tire speed rating, or any of that stuff. In the interest of safety, the automaker plans to introduce a speed ceiling for all of its vehicles, even if it means pissing off Germans.

Speaking to Reuters, Volvo Cars CEO Hakan Samuelsson said that, starting in 2020, his company’s vehicles will back off after hitting 112 mph (180 km/h). This happens to be the same speed my Chevrolet Corsica couldn’t nudge past back in high school.

The automaker’s new speed limit is another plank in its tech-heavy Vision 2020 mandate, which seeks to eliminate deaths and injuries in Volvo vehicles by next year. Volvo’s CEO suggested that all the tech in the world can’t save a passenger if the vehicle is travelling too fast.

“We’ve realized that to close the gap we have to focus more on the human factors,” he said.

Perhaps taking a cue from zealous European lawmakers, the automaker is also exploring speed limiters that would kick in in high-pedestrian areas like school zones. This technology would limit the Volvo’s speed to that of the posted speed limit until it leaves the geo-fenced area.

Before that happens, however, Volvo expects to have cameras spying on its drivers, monitoring their faces for signs of drowsiness (or booziness). Cadillac’s Super Cruise driver-assist features already uses such a system.

When asked whether the new speed limiters would hurt sales in speed-happy Germany, home of the famed Autobahn, Samuelsson seemed unconcerned.

“We cannot please everybody, but we think we will attract new customers,” he said. “I think Volvo customers in Germany will appreciate that we’re doing something about safety.”

[Image: Volvo Cars]

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  • Jfk-usaf Jfk-usaf on Mar 05, 2019

    It's just over management of the end customer. I love my 2017 XC90 don't get me wrong but Volvo needs to understand that Americans like to make their own choices and don't like to be managed. An example: I hated it when they took my temp gauge away. They gave it back to me in my 2015 XC60 and then took it away again in my 2017 XC90. I like to have all the data in front of me and keep off the throttle until the car starts to warm up. Their engineers say that that's not necessary. I don't care if its necessary! I want the data so I can decide on my own course of action. Most cars I believe limit themselves around 130mph and that's what we are used to. That's the norm and there's no reason to change it. I know that my car will go 130 if I ask it to. I never would but I get to make that decision. This whole thing reminds me of 80s car speedos that stopped at 85mph. Maybe Volvo could speak to the number of people that die when their Volvos were driven between 112 and 130mph..... another thought. Make the change and don't advertise it. I'd probably never know but now you've pissed me off and I don't want to buy your cars anymore.

  • DC Bruce DC Bruce on Mar 05, 2019

    Well, this is amusing and interesting. Of course -- with the possible exception of Germans -- most car buyers don't come close to exploring the top speed potential of their vehicles. But they buy power anyway. Volvo's implicit message is: "don't waste your money; because we're not going to let you use it anyway!" It will be interesting to see how that turns out. As the driver of a governed 420 hp half ton pickup truck, I have kissed but not slammed into the 98 mph governed top speed. In a number of western states, the speed limit on certain highways is 80 or 85. So, it's not that hard to find the limit if you're say, shooting the gap between a slow-moving truck and a left-lane bandit. And, FTW, on those highways, I do the posted limit not the usual 5 mph over.

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  • Lou_BC I've never used a car buying plan service. My Costco membership did get me 1,000 cash back on my last truck.
  • Jeff S I can understand 8 cars is a bit much unless you are a serious collector. I always loved the Challenger when it first came out and now. I don't need a car like this but I am glad it exists at least for 1 more year. If I had a choice between a Mustang, a Camaro, and a Challenger I would opt for a Challenger but probably with a V-6 since it has more than enough power for most and I don't need to be burning rubber. Challenger has the classic muscle car looks, more cabin room, and a decent size trunk which makes it very livable for day to day driving and for traveling. The base models of the Dodge Challenger has a 3.6-liter V6 engine that gives you 305 horsepower with 268 lb-ft torque. The car attains 60 mph from a standstill within just 6 seconds, which is quite fast. Even with their base engines, the Challenger and Camaro are lightning-fast. The Camaro reaches 165 mph, while the Challenger can go up to 11 mph faster!
  • Inside Looking Out I would avoid American cities if I can. European cities are created for humans and Americans for cars.
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