The new Volvo EM90 may bring Volvo into the MPV segment that it never had a presence in before, but it is not an unfamiliar vehicle type to the Swedish carmaker. While the term ‘MPV’ did not exist then, the Volvo Duett of 1953 offered the multi-purpose versatility and spaciousness of today’s MPVs.
It would later evolve into the stationwagons that Volvo became strongly associated with, and the Duett (its name meant ‘two cars in one’) would also be an important source of inspiration for the designers when they started work on the EM90.
Scandinavian living room on wheels
With the EM90, the designers have created a living room on wheels, specifically a Scandinavian living room. “It’s an age-old cliche, but there really is no place like home,” said Jim Rowan, CEO of Volvo Cars, when introducing the new model today. “A place to connect with your loved ones, to truly be yourself. It’s this feeling of home that inspired our new EM90, a car with room for life.”
“With the new, fully electric Volvo EM90 premium MPV, we want to unlock a space for living. It’s a car that is designed to be a space where you can find time to connect, think or just relax. To spend time with your loved ones, find peace of mind and enrich your life,” he said. “Our new EM90 offers the next level of premium experience on top of everything you’d expect from a Volvo car, with iconic Scandinavian design.”
Unique front end but still Volvo
However, the first acquaintance with the EM90 comes through the exterior design. At the front, there is the instantly recognisable and iconic visual signature of ‘Thor’s Hammer’ on the headlights. But more than that, what really stands out is how the headlights of the EM90 greet you with an illuminating front, including an illuminated logo that appears for the first time on a Volvo car. Said to be inspired by skyscrapers and cutting-edge immersive art, the front view exudes high-tech, crafted precision.
At the rear, a lit-up wordmark and stylish rear light design make the EM90 stand out from modern premium design. The iconic Volvo vertical tail lamps have also evolved since they first appeared on Volvo stationwagons 50 years ago. Also inspired by the skyline of modern cities, the tail lamp signatures extend both upward and downward, with the metal strip representing the core horizon line.
Powered only by electricity from a 116 kWh battery pack, the EM90 is claimed to have a range of up to 738 kms. It takes less than 30 minutes to be recharged from 10% to 80% (presumably at a high-speed DC charging station).
The e-motor generates 200 kW of power, taking the rear-wheel drive EM90 from 0 to 100 km/h in a claimed 8.3 seconds.
Like the EX90 flagship, the MPV is also able to charge bi-directionally. This means that the energy in the battery pack can also be used to power external devices and even recharge a friend’s EV. The value of this feature (referred to as ‘V2L’) will be appreciated when there are power failures or when camping.
96 years of safety DNA
Being a Volvo, it would be expected that safety will be class-leading, if not pioneering. Volvo engineers have used the company’s 96 years of safety DNA to make this new type of vehicle (to the brand) as safe as all its other models.
The broad suite of advanced driver assistance system is enabled by advanced computing power and an all-round sensor set with high-definition cameras, surround view cameras, a millimetre wave radar and ultrasonic radars.
Additionally, attention has also been given to safeguarding the battery pack, supplied by CATL. The state-of-the-art battery protection technologies include a strong structure made of steel and aluminium that enables a safe and stable performance in real-world crash scenarios.
In addition to a high level of safety, the occupants wellbeing is also of importance to Volvo. The ‘Scandinavian living room on wheels’ has generous cabin width and legroom to ensure comfort on every journey.
Additional comfort is ensured with top-notch sound isolation and road noise cancellation technology, while dual chamber air suspension and quiet-running tyres further smoothen the ride experience.
Cleaner air inside than outside
Even before the heightened concern for air quality and hygiene brought on by the COVID-9 pandemic, Volvo was already making sure that the air inside the car was as clean as possible. One approach adopted from the days of the 240 models was to have the blower constantly running (at very low speeds) to maintain higher pressure within so that dust would not flow in.
Since those days, Volvo has advanced in its air purification technology and can boast that the air inside the EM90 can be cleaner than the air outside. This is with the standard provision of pre-ionisation and a fibre-based filter in the air purification system which can remove up to 95% of all PM 2.5 particulates.
“The EM90 is designed to provide comfort and peace of mind in a Scandinavian style,” said Erik Severinson, Volvo’s Global Head of New Car Programmes. “It’s a car that sets a new standard for modern luxury – a word that nowadays is often interchangeable with the expression ‘quality of life’. At Volvo Cars, we’re uniquely positioned to tap into this new mindset. We’re from Sweden after all, a place that believes quality of life is as important as being alive.”
China only – for now?
China (where it is made) is the first market to get the EM90 which made its official debut today. Though it is believed to be primarily intended for the Chinese market, distributors in other countries will surely want it in their showrooms as well. After all, MPVs have now ascended to the luxury class with models like the LM from Lexus so Volvo would want to also want to be represented in the segment.