Dealerships

New Volvo Valet service allows vehicles to be serviced without face-to-face contact

Volvo Valet delivers a luxury level experience for owners.

Photo courtesy of Volvo Car USA

Volvo owners can now have their cars serviced without having to come face-to-face with another human. The automaker has debuted its new Volvo Valet service in the U.S., offering owners the opportunity to use their smartphone to schedule maintenance.

Users download the Volvo Valet app (available for iOS or Android) to schedule their service appointment as well as a preferred pickup time. A retailer employee will then pick up the customer's car and drop off a loaner vehicle for use while maintenance is being performed.

Through the Volvo Valet app the customer can see where their driver is and when they will arrive tracking their moves like you can in the Uber app. After handoff, the owner can receive a notification when their car has arrived at the dealership. The customer is notified the moment their car is ready to be picked up then, the retailer will contact the customer to arrange a time to return their Volvo and pick up the loaner vehicle.

Volvo Valet app The Volvo Valet app allows for vehicle maintenance to be conducted without the hassle of heading to a dealership.Photo courtesy of Volvo Car USA

To ensure a fully transparent process retailer employees are asked to photograph the condition of both cars at the point of handoff.

"Volvo Valet gives owners the flexibility to service and maintain their vehicles in a way that works best for them," said Anders Gustafsson, Senior Vice President Americas and President and CEO, Volvo Car USA. "Volvo Valet has been very successful in pilot testing over the last year and it is now ready to serve our customers and retailers in this unprecedented time."

Owners can also choose to schedule this service over the phone with their local dealership.

Volvo vehicles of any age are eligible for this service, at the discretion of individual retailers. To check if an individual retailer is participating in the program, customers can contact their service department until an online functionality is added this spring. Retail locations can be found at www.volvocars.com

All service performed via Volvo Valet is eligible for the Service by Volvo benefits provided to all Volvo car owners: Volvo Tow for Life offers owners free towing to a Volvo retailer within a 25-mile radius for the life of the car when work is performed there. Volvo Lifetime Replacement Parts and Labor Warranty covers genuine Volvo parts installed by a Volvo retailer for out-of-warranty repairs for as long as they own the car—pay once and never again.

While currently applicable only to maintenance and service, Volvo Valet will be expanded to include lease and purchase deliveries, lease returns, and overnight test drives later in 2020.

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Ultium Charge 360 is described as a holistic approach to electric vehicle ownership.

Photo courtesy of General Motors

General Motors, like Ford, is working to help make charging easier for their electric vehicle owners. The introduction of the Ultium Charge 360, which takes its name from the Ultium battery pack that is going to be used to charge GM vehicles moving forward, combines information regarding charging networks, GM vehicle mobile apps, and other products and services.

"GM agrees with the customer need for a robust charging experience that makes the transition to an EV seamless and helps drive mass adoption," said Travis Hester, GM's chief EV officer. "As we launch 30 EVs globally by the end of 2025, Ultium Charge 360 simplifies and improves the at-home charging experience and the public charging experience – whether it's community-based or road-trip charging."

Ultium Charge 360 smartphone Ultium Charge 360 allows users to find a charging station near them.Photo courtesy of General Motors

Ultium Charge 360 offers:

  • Access to Charging - GM will continue to work with a variety of third parties, including charge point operators, electric utilities and government agencies to make home, workplace, public and fleet charging ubiquitous for customers.
  • Mobile Apps - GM will continue to update the GM vehicle mobile apps to provide an even more intuitive mobile experience that makes navigating to a charging station, plugging into a charger and paying for charging simple.
  • Products and Services - To help ensure the transition to an EV is seamless, GM is working to offer EV owners charging accessories and installation services tailored to their lifestyle. For example, GM will cover standard installation of Level 2 charging capability for eligible customers who purchase or lease a 2022 Bolt EUV or Bolt EV in collaboration with Qmerit.

GM is also making progress on its EV infrastructure strategy. The company previously announced plans to install 3,500 charging stations at company facilities.

Thanks to agreements between GM and seven major charging providers (Blink Charging, ChargePoint, EV Connect, EVgo, FLO, Greenlots and SemaConnect) GM vehicle suers will be able to see real-time information from nearly 60,000 charging plugs throughout the U.S. and Canada, find stations along a route, and initiate and pay for charging.

Nine months following the announcement to add 2,700 fast chargers in cities and suburbs by the end of 2025, GM and EVgo have opened its first sites in Washington, California, and Florida. Each site is capable of delivering up to 350 kilowatts and averages four chargers per site. GM and EVgo are on track to have approximately 500 fast charging stalls live by the end of 2021.

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The Ford Mustang Mach-E did not perform as well as the Volvo XC40 Recharge in IIHS testing.

Photo courtesy of IIHS

The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) has released the results of its latest round of crash testing, which includes two new-to-market electric vehicles (EVs), the 2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge and 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E. The Volvo earned a Top Safety Pick+ designation while the Ford got a Top Safety Pick award.

The 2021 XC40 Recharge joins the Audi E-Tron, Audi E-Tron Sportback, and Tesla Model 3, all EVs, that have received 2021 Top Safety Pick+ designation.

"It's fantastic to see more proof that these vehicles are as safe as or safer than gasoline- and diesel-powered cars," says IIHS President David Harkey. "We can now say with confidence that making the U.S. fleet more environmentally friendly doesn't require any compromises in terms of safety."

2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge IIHS crash test

Photo courtesy of IIHS

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In order to earn a 2021 Top Safety Pick award, a vehicle must get all Good ratings in each of the six IIHS crashworthiness tests — driver- and passenger-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraints. Winners must also be available with Good or Acceptable headlights and a front crash prevention system that earns Advanced or Superior ratings in both the vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian evaluations.

To qualify as a Top Safety Pick+ award winner, vehicles must come with Good or Acceptable headlights across all trim levels and packages in addition to the Top Safety Pick criteria.

The XC40 Recharge's adaptive LED reflector headlights, which are installed on every XC40 Recharge model. The SUV's standard front crash prevention system also earns Superior and Advanced scores in the vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to- pedestrian evaluations, respectively.

Ford sells the Mustang Mach-E with Good-rated LED projector headlights on Premium, GT, and First Edition trim levels. However, LED reflector headlights that are on the Mustang Mach-E Select and California Route 1 grades are rated as Marginal, which prevented the Mustang from earning the top-tier rating. IIHS found that these headlights provided inadequate illumination around curves.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E IIHS crash test

Photo courtesy of IIHS

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The Mach-E's standard front crash prevention system earned Superior ratings in both the vehicle- to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian evaluations.

A recent study of electric and internal combustion engine vehicles from 2011 to 2019 by the IIHS-affiliated Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) found that rates of injury claims related to the drivers and passengers of electric vehicles were more than 40 percent lower than for identical conventional models over 2011-19.

HLDI points to the weight of EVs as being one of the key drivers of this statistic. Large batteries that are required to run EVs are substantially heavier than traditional powertrain components. Occupants of heavier vehicles are exposed to lower forces in multi-vehicle crashes.

The XC40 Recharge has a curb weight of 4,787 pounds, compared with 3,811 pounds for the conventional model. The Mustang Mach-E weighs 4,516 pounds.

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