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Volvo Embla? New name rumored for XC90 successor

Volvo is set to replace its popular XC90 next year with a new model, one that may end up being called the Embla.

In an interview with Automotive News (subscription) published over the weekend, Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson confirmed a new name would be used for the XC90 replacement, and said it would start with a vowel.

This was followed up by a report from Drive published on Tuesday, which claimed Volvo in October filed trademark protection for the name Embla, though it’s unclear at which trademark registry. A search of the United States Patent and Trademark Office shows that, at the time of writing, there’s no trademark protection for Embla filed by Volvo.

The name comes from Norse mythology, and represents the first woman created by the gods.

Volvo Concept Recharge

Why a new name? The XC90 replacement is set to be a significant departure from the past two XC90 generations. It has been developed from the onset as a battery-electric vehicle, or “born electric,” as Samuelsson described it in his Automotive News interview. However, we know the battery-mounted floor can be swapped out for one that supports hybrid powertrains, as not all customers are ready to switch to an EV.

The XC90 replacement is also expected to become more wagon-like, with its design thought to be heavily influenced by the Concept Recharge unveiled earlier this year. The concept combined the high seating position of a conventional SUV with the sleeker, more aerodynamic body of a wagon—something that should aid the vehicle when it comes to range.

We also know there will be a high level of self-driving capability. Volvo has confirmed built-in lidar for the vehicle and said there will eventually be a feature called Highway Pilot, which will enable hands-off, eyes-off travel on certain highways. Timing for Highway Pilot isn’t clear.

There will be one other major change with the new vehicle. Volvo currently builds the XC90 in Sweden for sale in North America but the replacement will be sourced from Volvo’s plant located near Charleston, South Carolina. The plant is currently churning out the S60 sedan for worldwide sale but from next year will also be responsible for the XC90 replacement and a related Polestar 3.

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