Volvo’s next-generation XC90 will have a lot of firsts on its resume. It will inaugurate an evolution of the modular SPA2 platform that underpins the current model, it will be available with a new suite of driver assistance features, and it will reportedly adopt the Embla name.
Citing a trademark application filed in Europe in 2021, British magazine Autocar believes it has uncovered the big SUV’s new name. While a trademark or a patent filing is never a guarantee that a feature, a name or a car is right around the corner, we know that Volvo plans to ditch its alphanumerical naming system in the near future to start giving its cars real names. “We’re going to give cars a name as you give a newborn child,” explained outgoing company boss Håkan Samuelsson. He also confirmed the next XC90’s name will start with a vowel.
Embla, your author just learned, is the first woman created by the gods according to Norse mythology. Its etymology is seemingly lost to history. It appears that Volvo wants to build on the Thor’s Hammer lights and continue putting its Swedish heritage front and center. Viewed in that light, Embla is a relatively good choice. It’s reasonably easy to pronounce, even for folks outside of Scandinavia, and it’s original; it’s likely not a name that you hear on a daily basis. It’s also relatively soft — Volvo Yggdrasil Recharge arguably has less of a ring to it.
Unofficial morsels of information allow us to piece together a vague idea of what to expect from the Embla. We hear the SUV will be loosely related to the Concept Recharge design study (pictured) that Volvo introduced in November 2021. If that’s accurate, it won’t look anything like the model that’s currently in showrooms. It will be longer, higher off the ground, and built on a much longer wheelbase. Details about the powertrain are conflicting: some sources say the Embla will be entirely electric, while others believe it will also be available as a hybrid.
Volvo is expected to unveil the Embla before the end of 2022, and the crossover will arrive in showrooms as either a 2023 or a 2024 model. An earlier report claims that production will take place near Charleston, South Carolina, where the firm currently builds the S60 sedan.
And, to complete the history lesson: the first man created by the gods in Norse mythology was named Ask.