A full-size SUV now joins its little sibling, the XC40 Recharge, in Volvo's move toward electrification.
- Volvo launches its first full-size electric SUV under the EX90 nameplate, joining the XC40 Recharge in Volvo’s growing EV lineup.
- With a 111-kWh battery and dual-electric motor AWD, the EX90 is set to make up to 517 hp and have a range of 300 miles, showing certain similarities to the Polestar 3.
- The EX90 is fitted with state-of-the-art safety systems, from Luminar’s Iris Lidar to a total of 10 cameras and a new Driver Understanding monitoring system.
Volvo’s journey toward electrification has been unorthodox. From wholly owning an all-electric brand with suspiciously similar-looking cars to withdrawing from Europe’s biggest automotive manufacturer association over sustainability concerns, Volvo has taken the non-traditional way in a market that is fresh itself. But now the company has its own claim to the rising world of electrification, thanks to its newest model and first full-size all-electric offering, the 2024 Volvo EX90.
Aerodynamics were a significant consideration in the EX90’s design, with a drag coefficient of 0.29 and turbulence-limited wheel covers.
Loosely based on the company’s flagship XC90 SUV, the seven-seat EX90 represents a new era for Volvo, both in propulsion and safety technology. And the EX90 is set to be more than adequate from a performance basis, with a twin-motor all-wheel-drive performance version powered by a 111-kWh battery and two permanent-magnet electric motors delivering 517 hp and 671 lb-ft of torque.
An entry-level model will also be available, with derated power figures at 408 hp and 567 lb-ft of torque. Zero to 60 mph arrives in 4.9 seconds and 5.9 seconds, respectively. All EX90 models will be AWD and will feature one-pedal drive, torque vectoring, and a towing capacity of 4850 pounds. The 17-module battery pack is placed within the floor of the car and makes for a low center of gravity, following the trend of current EV production.
There’s no denying the EX90 is a family SUV, and the suspension setup reflects that target market. Double wishbone suspension in the front and an integral link rear suspension are characterized by smooth riding dual chamber air suspension and hydraulic shocks. This setup gives the EX90 an acceptable level of ground clearance, at over 9 inches, and relatively sharp approach and departure angles of 19.3 and 21 degrees, respectively. It’s unlikely that EX90 owners will do any serious off-roading or performance driving with their 6200-pound SUV, but the model is capable nonetheless.
Interior of Volvo EX90.
Similarly in line with the current EV market is the EX90’s EPA estimated range, coming in at 300 miles. Keeping the model charged is made easy by 250-kW DC fast charging capability and an estimated optimal charge rate of 111 miles every 10 minutes or so. Battery pre-conditioning is baked into the floor-mounted pack, meaning owners can remotely optimize the battery’s temperature for the task at hand. As seen on the recently released Polestar 3, the EX90 will also be equipped with bi-directional charging hardware, allowing for charging at targeted high-efficiency times, energy storage, and even the ability to sell energy back to the grid. Other uses of bi-directional charging include vehicle-to-home power and vehicle-to-vehicle charging.
Luminar’s Iris Lidar system sits on top of it all, allowing for a wider angle of the road and peripheral areas, while radar and some cameras sit inside the grille area for an alternate view.
Technology is what really sets the EX90 apart from its competitors with safety as the cornerstone. The key to its safety system is a roof-mounted module featuring Luminar’s Iris Lidar system, which can detect pedestrians at up to 820 feet ahead thanks to its 1550 nanometer wavelength and NVIDIA Orin AI internal processor. As the car drives, the AI supercomputer will be learning the roads ahead and picking up on situational examples for future semi-autonomous use. Volvo says this Lidar and processor technology alone is likely to reduce severe accidents by 20%, but the company didn’t stop there. A total of five radar sensors, eight exterior cameras, two interior cameras, and 16 ultrasonic sensors make up the driver-assistance monitors built into the EX90.
While the exterior cameras and radar work in tandem with the Lidar, the interior cameras monitor the driver. Volvo calls this combination of interior cameras and driver-facing radar the Driver Understanding system, and it can monitor just about every characteristic of the person behind the wheel. From eye motion to blinking succession and posture, the system alerts the driver when it senses drowsiness or intoxication, eventually escalating to autonomously pulling the vehicle over if the driver ignores such warnings. The interior radar system is made to alert front-seat occupants about people or things left behind in the rear seats or trunk.
Finally, the company’s attention to detail and sustainability are brought forth in the cabin. Three light-based colorways make up the sustainable material adorned interiors while a standard 14.5-inch center screen with Google built in makes up the infotainment system. Navigation services and charging assistance will be provided by Google while audio hardware is provided by Bowers & Wilkins. 5G connectivity and mobile phone key management are also standard.
“By the end of this decade, we will be an electric-car company. We expect to sell 1.2 million cars by halfway through this decade,” said Volvo Cars CEO Jim Rowan at the EX90 launch.
Pricing and specific trim details have yet to be released, but chassis and technology similarities to the Polestar 3 suggest it will cost around $80,000 in base form. Production is set to start at Volvo’s South Carolina plant in 2023, however, another round of production will start shortly after at its facility in China.
Once on sale, the company isn’t betting on a wave of new customers coming just for electrification, given the previous release of the XC40 Recharge, but it plans on retaining the same customer base regardless of propulsion type. This is not an unusual plan, as automakers appeal to legacy customers with brand-specific EVs, but Volvo’s EX90 may have an advantage.
That’s because Volvo carried over its main principles (safety, sustainability, and luxury) into a package that is decidedly electric but doesn’t appear out of the ordinary. Even with familiar visuals, the EX90 is full of fresh technology underneath an all-new electrified SUV chassis, in a testament to our future automotive landscape. As Volvo makes its way to a fully electric lineup by 2030, the EX90 is bound to be a significant part of that process.
Emmet White A New York transplant hailing from the Pacific Northwest, Emmet White has a passion for anything that goes: cars, bicycles, planes, and motorcycles.
Keyword: Volvo Finally Gets Its Flagship EV, the EX90