Interior Climate Control
Step into a vehicle on a hot summer day, after it's baked in a parking lot for several hours, and the radiating heat can feel like your head is in an oven. Likewise, driving under uncomfortable circumstances is distracting and more dangerous.
Volvo engineers conducted a test in which two groups of drivers operated vehicles over the same route, with two different interior temperatures. The first group ran at 70 degrees, while the second drove with a cabin temperature of 80. The result? Drivers operating at the higher temperature made more mistakes and missed more actions than those in the cooler cabins.
Volvo's answer to this problem is its Electronic Climate Control system. Using two temperature sensors (one solar and one computerized), the system decides the best method by which air will be heated or cooled and where to direct the flow inside the cabin. Air-conditioning systems dehumidify at temperatures above 37 degrees to ensure that moisture is removed from the interior windows. Ducts on the dashboard can heat the windshield wipers, while floor outlets help evaporate moisture from snowy boots. B-pillar vents double as window demisters in the winter and rear air-conditioning ducts in the summer. These controls are meant to be intuitive and designed to be operated with gloves on. Additionally, drivers and passengers can vary the climate from side to side. Other cold-weather features that supplement climate control include dual-level seat heaters and rear window and sideview mirror heaters.
While the in-cabin environment is important, Volvo also pays close attention to the air outside. In extremely cold temperatures, fuel doesn't combust as completely as in warmer weather, leaving more unburned particles floating in the air. Therefore, Volvo equips all its vehicles with filters for incoming air. This optional air-quality system uses a gas filter that purifies air entering the vehicle as well as that being recirculated. Sensors also help detect gases, such as nitrogen oxide, ground-level ozone, carbon monoxide, and vapors from fuel. Vents are engineered to automatically close when these particles are present, leaving Volvo's passengers uncontaminated.