After a long time waiting for it, the Volvo EX90 has already become a reality. Volvo’s new electric SUV is the brand’s new flagship, the replacement for the XC90, but it’s also much more than that. The new EX90 represents the beginning of a new era for Volvo, an era of full electrification and connectivity. It is the first Volvo “defined by its software”, according to the brand’s own words, and announces up to 600 kilometers of range.
The EX90 is immediately recognizable as the replacement for the XC90. Its silhouette and its proportions leave no room for doubt, nor do its headlights with the light signature of Thor’s hammer or the brand’s characteristic L-shaped taillights. Of course, the design is more modern and also much more aerodynamic.
However, there are also clearly differentiating features. The most striking is the notch above the front windshield, which is nothing more than the LIDAR sensor for autonomous driving (and which we will talk about in detail later).
The front grille is a design game, as it is fully faired. There is no combustion engine, so the only real air intake is at the bottom and it will serve to cool the battery and other mechanical components. However, the lower air intake only opens when cooling is required, the rest of the time it closes to reduce aerodynamic drag.
An elegant and high-quality interior
The interior stands out for its elegance and minimalist design. The leading role is taken by the large 14.5-inch diagonal vertical touch screen, which also comes with integrated Google services. The orientation of the screen contrasts with the horizontal arrangement of the rest of the dashboard, whose air outlets try to go unnoticed with a discreet design that covers practically the entire width of the cabin.
The maxim of the EX90 is minimalism, for better and for worse. In the center console there is only one button to control the audio system -with an exquisite glass finish, by the way-. The gear lever is located behind the steering wheel, on the right.
The central console does not end up joining the dashboard, leaving room to leave objects and creating a greater feeling of spaciousness. All this combines materials such as wood, aluminum, and textiles that at first glance transmit high-quality finishes.
The Volvo EX90 also uses a large proportion of recycled plastics: each car has 48 kilos of recycled plastics, around 15% of the total plastic used in the vehicle. To this must be added the use of 15% recycled steel and 25% recycled aluminum in the chassis and bodywork, giving a good account of the concern for sustainability at all levels.
And as was the case with its predecessor, the cabin of the EX90 has a capacity for 7 passengers, making it one of the very few electric cars with so many seats.
The safest Volvo ever comes prepared for level 3 autonomous driving
Needless to say, the Volvo EX90 is a marvel of technology and safety systems. Safety has always been one of Volvo’s pillars and with the EX90 they claim to have made the safest Volvo in history. For this, there is a real display of technology and assistants watching over its occupants.
The Volvo EX90 carries a safety ‘shield’ made up of multiple sensors, cameras, radar, and LIDAR which, combined with a powerful Nvidia Drive supercomputer, create a real-time 360-degree view of the entire vehicle environment.
The lidar sensor can detect the road day or night and is capable of seeing small objects hundreds of meters away. In this way, the different systems of the vehicle have more time to report and act if necessary. The Pilot Assist assistant incorporates new functions such as automatic lane change and thanks to the provision of sensors, including LIDAR, the car already comes with all the necessary hardware for level 3 autonomous driving.
Volvo has also improved the driver’s fatigue or distraction detection system. Now it is smarter than before and more accurately detects the state of the driver. If it detects that attention is falling, the car first warns with a gentle push on the seat and then with more insistence. If the driver falls asleep or, worse, becomes unconscious for any reason, the car can pull itself to a stop on the side of the road and automatically notify the emergency services.
Vehicle connectivity takes a new level
Volvo itself defines the EX90 as “a highly advanced computer on wheels.” Software management, from the infotainment system to battery management, is handled by Nvidia Drive’s AI-powered Xavier and Orin platforms alongside Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Cockpit platform and Volvo’s in-house developed software. The result is lightning-fast computing power.
Thanks to this high computing power, it can deploy all the visualization capabilities of the Unreal Engine, a 3D tool developed by Epic Games and used in some of the most demanding video games in the world. This translates into high-quality graphics on all screens and the Head-up Display.
The infotainment system comes with Google built-in, ensuring you have one of the best systems on the market. This includes Google apps and services like Google Assistant, Google Maps browser, and the ability to download more apps from Google Play. The Volvo EX90 will also be compatible with wireless Apple CarPlay and will have a 5G connection. A Bowers & Wilkins audio system with Dolby Atmos (a Volvo first) and speakers integrated into the headrests will not be missing.
With 5G as standard when available, it’s never been easier to install the apps you need on your home screen and enjoy highly intuitive navigation. You can also stream your favorite music through the new reference-quality Bowers & Wilkins audio system that includes Dolby Atmos as a Volvo first, plus integrated headrest speakers for surround sound.
Various engines with up to 600 kilometers of range
The new Volvo EX90 will be offered with several engines, although at the moment Volvo has not offered detailed details of all of them. For now, two engines have been confirmed, with 408 and 517 horsepower. Both equip a 111 kWh capacity battery.
Initially, there will be a version with two electric motors and four-wheel drive that delivers 380 kW (517 hp) of power and 910 Nm of torque. This will be the most performant version, at least initially.
Later there will be a version with two engines and all-wheel drive with 300 kW (408 hp). This somewhat less powerful version has the same battery and will offer 600 kilometers of WLTP range on a single charge, and can recharge from 10 to 80% in less than 30 minutes.
The Volvo EX90 is the brand’s first car with all the necessary hardware to enable bidirectional charging. This functionality will be available later, and at the moment Volvo has not said in which markets it will be offered.
It will start manufacturing next 2023
The Volvo EX90 will start to be manufactured in the United States from next 2023 and, later, it will also be manufactured in China. The production will be neutral in carbon emissions from the climate point of view. Starting with the Volvo EX90, the brand will introduce a new all-electric car every year, in line with its goal of selling only all-electric cars by 2030.