Volvo may be part of the Geely group now, but the brand is fiercely Swedish and that shows in its latest product, the EX90. We attended the unveiling in Stockholm and tried to learn as much as possible about this very important midsize electric SUV, so here are the main facts that you should know.
Firstly, the EX90 rides on the same platform as the recently revealed Polestar 3. It is slightly longer and has seating for more people, but it has the same 111 kWh battery pack from CATL with a usable capacity of 107 kWh - this will give the EX90 a WLTP range of 372 miles (600 km) on one charge; the EPA number will be slightly lower, probably by around 15 percent.
For reference, the Polestar 3 with the same battery and motors combo is EPA rated at 270 miles. The battery pack also serves a structural role in the vehicle’s chassis, helping improve safety, according to Volvo.
Gallery: 2024 Volvo EX90 Live Photos
Like the Polestar 3, the EX90 can charge at a maximum 250 kW, which is unusual for a 400-volt vehicle given that all rivals that offer similar charging speeds do so by using an 800-volt architecture. The secret, though, according to Lutz Stiegler, Volvo’s lead for batteries and electric propulsion, is in the higher amperage that it can take - 600 amps is what allows for the higher charging speed without resorting to 800 volts.
Not all CCS chargers can deliver the necessary amperage - as they are usually limited to around 350 amps - but some fast chargers do offer more and it’s with those chargers that the EX90 (or Polestar 3) will be able to reach its peak rate of charge. According to the manufacturer, when connected to such a charger, it takes 30 minutes to bring the state of charge from 10 to 80 percent; 10 minutes of charging add 112 miles (180 km).
Providing propulsion for the EX90 is a pair of synchronous permanent-magnet motors that together produce 510 horsepower (380 kW) and 617 pound-feet (910 Nm) of torque. These numbers are identical to the Polestar 3 with the Performance Pack and that sprints to sixty in 4.6 seconds, with a 130 mph (210 km/h) top speed. Given its extra weight, the EX90 with this motor configuration will need around 5 seconds to perform the benchmark sprint.
The highlight of my trip to Sweden for the EX90 unveiling was getting to chat with Volvo’s head of design, Robin Page, who explained why the model looks the way it does, both inside and out. Firstly, you may have noticed that Volvo seemingly didn’t try to make the EX90 look too different to the XC90, its ICE equivalent in the Volvo lineup.
This isn’t accidental as the brand wanted to keep the same familiar look in order to not drive buyers away. However, both front and rear overhangs are longer in order to positively affect air flow and lower the vehicle’s drag coefficient (which is apparently quite low for a vehicle of its type, but Volvo didn’t give us a number).
When I asked Robin Page why Volvo didn’t give the EX90 a faux grille like many manufacturers are doing with their EVs in order to retain brand identity, he said it’s all because of Swedish design principles of purity and minimalism and that it’s the first time the Volvo iron mark is not placed on an actual grille (even a fully-closed fake one like in some ICE models that the brand turned into EVs).
He also noted that being an EV, Volvo was able to push (what used to be known as) the firewall further forward, but it didn’t do the same with the first row of seats, a technique used by some manufacturers to give second-row occupants more legroom. Apparently Volvo has kept the seats in the same position they are on the XC90 and it has chosen to give first-row occupants more legroom.
And I got to sit in all the three rows of seats, and as a six-footer I can attest to its spaciousness especially in the front two rows. But the fact that I was able to fit without contorting my legs in the third row was quite an achievement, so the EX90 is definitely not lacking for passenger space.
Journalists also asked Robin Page why Volvo had chosen to give the EX90 touch-sensitive panels on the steering wheel instead of buttons. The questioner specifically referred to the fact that you can very easily hit them by accident, but the Volvo design boss said that they have set the touch panels more inward on the steering wheel prongs and that the likelihood of hitting them by accident is small.
Another point of interest was the integration of the LIDAR sensors, which are placed in a protruding pod right above the top edge of the windscreen. It’s similar to what has been seen on the Chinese vehicles that also feature LIDAR, both in terms of placement and the look of the bump itself - there’s apparently no other place to put it as it needs to be placed up high for good visibility of the road.
And it certainly delivers on that front, being able to “see” up to 820 feet (250 meters) ahead in complete darkness. It also has 8 cameras and over a dozen ultrasonic sensors that together ensure the vehicle “knows” what’s going on around it at all times, helping keep its occupants safe.
Volvo also notes that the EX90 is the safest vehicle it has ever produced and that it has the necessary hardware to be able to safely drive itself. This won’t be available from the start, although the vehicle will feature advanced semi-autonomous driving functions that will vary depending on market (because of different legal requirements).
The headlights also deserve a mention. They have to be some of the coolest and most unique ever fitted to a production car. Their LED daytime running lights actually mechanically open to reveal the two projectors which can not only light the road ahead, but also show various animations (and possibly even text) thanks to a 1.3-megapixel resolution (this is similar to what Mercedes-Benz calls Digital Light).
Make sure to check out our gallery of live photos shot on-location in Stockholm.