A few years ago, Volvo became one of many brands to declare all-in on an electric-only future and, ultimately, be climate neutral. Although some automakers like General Motors and Ford have backpedaled a bit by adding hybrids and plug-ins into their once EV-or-nothing lineups, Volvo has stayed the course of its 2030 target date.

The Chinese-owned Swedish manufacturer already eliminated gas-only vehicles for the U.S. Starting with the 2023 model year, every Volvo sold here was either a mild hybrid, hybrid, or EV. In other parts of the world, Volvo also ceased production of its diesel engine.

So, we know the EVs are coming, but Volvo has kept mum on the what and when. The ES90 is one of those secrets, and it's allegedly the heir apparent to the S90. Currently available in the U.S. as a mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid (PHEV), the writing on the wall says the S90 might not be around much longer. 

The U.K. dropped the midsize luxury sedan from its lineup last summer along with the S60, V60, and V90. Even though S90 sales were up 13.3% last year, that amounted to just 1,451 units out of 128,701 total U.S. sales. The XC crossovers, however, combined for 84% of Volvo's year-end numbers. Nevertheless, if that sales jump, even in small increments, is any indication, there is still interest in luxury sedans. Perhaps more so when sufficiently electrified. 

Gallery: Volvo Concept Recharge

What Will the Volvo ES90 Look Like?

Volvo hasn't exactly been cranking out production-ready concepts lately. For cars, the last one was the Concept Estate in 2014. But that was a two-door. Looking for a sedan, we have to go farther back to 2011's Concept Universe

However, according to the Swedish car magazine Teknikens Vȁrld, a new EV sedan, internally designated as "V551," went into production in December. Unfortunately, the leaked image from Volvo Cars' own employee intranet doesn't show much. The group photo does reveal the V551 name and that this "top secret" and "confidential" vehicle was built at a Chinese factory — but that's it. 

Officially, Volvo did say the 2021 Concept Recharge was the "manifesto" for its next generation of BEVs, so we can take some cues from that. The concept uses an EV-specific global platform that allows a large battery pack to fit under a flat floor. This creates flexibility in manufacturing as the wheelbase can be extended, the wheel sizes can vary, and the overhangs be designed shorter. We can see these design elements translated into a production vehicle, like the all-new EX30 small crossover. 

The concept has a wider stance and oversized wheels, but the production EV features a nearly identical front end. The traditional Volvo grille, for example, is gone and replaced with a shield-like design. The stylized "Thor's Hammer" headlights and lower front bumper design are also reminiscent of the concept. In the rear, the taillight housing follows the framing of the concept but boxes out into separate pieces that border the trunk lid and rear window. The concept features a single L-shaped lighting structure. The interior is Scandinavian simple and, like the concept, the EX30 features a large vertically-positioned touchscreen as the dashboard's sole design feature. Though, it is a 12.3-inch tablet in the EX30 versus the 15-inch presented in the concept. Any or all of this can make their way onto the ES90.

Volvo Concept Recharge

What Will Power the Volvo ES90?

Just as Volvo hasn't spoken about the ES90/V551 in any official capacity, what will power the sedan EV is anyone's guess. But Teknikens Vȁrld has more leaked documents in its files. Referring to Chinese documents released in spring 2022, the ES90 will feature the same 111-kWh battery available in the EX90. In the dual-motor, all-wheel-drive EX90, the battery pack produces up to 510 horsepower and 671 pound-feet of torque. Given that a midsize sedan should weigh less than a large three-row SUV, the ES90 can easily offer the same amount of performance, if not more.

What Will be the Range of the Volvo ES90? 

Preliminary numbers for the EX90 show a range of 300 miles with the 111-kWh battery pack. We can expect at least that with the ES90. Charging from 10 to 80 percent can also take as little as 30 minutes when utilizing a 250-kW DC fast charger.  

How Much Will the Volvo ES90 Cost?

The 2024 S90 mild-hybrid starts at $57,700, while the PHEV starts at $65,650. The destination fee adds another $1,195. If the ES90 is equipped with the twin-motor powertrain of the EX90, which starts at $76,695, a safe bet is the EV sedan will have a starting MSRP of around 70 grand. If a single-motor variant is offered, it's possible it starts where the S90 Recharge price point currently is. 

As far as the competitive set, it's a small group. The Germans include the BMW i5 and Mercedes-Benz EQE. The base Bavarian eDrive40 RWD starts at $66,800, while the Stuttgart sedan has an entry price of $74,900 for the EQE 350+ RWD. American rivals would be the Lucid Air ($69,900 for the Pure RWD) and the Tesla Model S ($66,490 for now). The Korean-built Genesis G80 has a higher starting MSRP but, in typical South Korean fashion, the vehicle is essentially fully loaded as there is only one package add-on available. Everyone else can easily hit six figures thanks to premium paints, package options, and other accessories.

When Does the Volvo ES90 Debut?

Because the V551 vehicle prototype was built in December, don't expect the production ES90 on sale anytime soon. However, Volvo's aggressive schedule of debuting at least six EVs by 2026 appears to be going as planned. So, if the V551 is the ES90 that could replace the S90, expect its arrival by 2026 at the latest. But we could see the new Volvo EV as early as next year, depending on how prototype testing goes. Of course, Volvo has to actually confirm its existence first.

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