It’s somewhat surprising that Volvo, known for its angular automotive designs, has taken this long to venture into the realm of the rectangular, family-friendly minivan. The recently unveiled Volvo EM90 capitalizes on the Swedish automaker’s association with the Geely corporate umbrella, sharing its platform and powertrain with the electric Zeekr 009, previously exclusive to the Chinese market.
The EM90, however, departs from the Zeekr’s brutalist aesthetics, adopting a smoother, more serene design while maintaining Volvo’s unwavering commitment to safety.
While bearing a familial resemblance to its Zeekr counterpart, the EM90 incorporates subtler details. The iconic “Thor’s hammer” headlights, a Volvo trademark, command attention atop a broad and flat face adorned with intricate LEDs and an illuminated Volvo logo. The rear showcases vertically oriented taillights and a full-width light bar housing a glowing Volvo script, with the minivan riding on 19- or 20-inch wheels.
Described by Volvo as a “comfortable living room on the move,” the EM90 prioritizes comfort over nimble handling. In contrast to the Zeekr’s dual-motor 536-horsepower configuration, the EM90 features a single rear-mounted electric motor generating 268 horsepower. This results in a claimed 8.3-second acceleration to 62 mph for the rear-wheel-drive minivan, compared to the Zeekr’s 4.5-second sprint.
The EM90 shares a 116.0-kWh battery with the Zeekr, offering a 459-mile range on China’s test cycle—an improvement over the Zeekr’s 436-mile rating. Volvo asserts that the EM90 can recharge from 10 to 80 percent in under half an hour, and its battery can be used to power other vehicles and electronic accessories.
The focal point of the EM90 is its lounge-like, six-seat cabin. Plush rear captain’s chairs with fold-out tables contribute to the luxurious ambiance. The interior design exudes a light and airy feel, featuring birch wood panels with intricate, backlit designs on the dashboard, doors, and front seatbacks. The shifter, crafted from Orrefors crystal, adds a touch of elegance.
Entertainment is catered to with a 15.6-inch screen supporting third-party apps, along with a 21-speaker Bowers & Wilkins sound system. Rear-seat passengers control certain functions via screens on the doors, while the driver has a 15.4-inch infotainment screen and a small display behind the steering wheel. Volvo emphasizes the EM90’s sound isolation, incorporating noise cancellation technology, specially designed tires, and a dual-chamber air suspension.
Safety remains a top priority, with Volvo emphasizing a robust structure made of steel and aluminum to safeguard both the battery and passengers. Advanced driver-assistance features are facilitated by an array of radar, ultrasonic sensors, and cameras.
Initially targeted for the Chinese market, the possibility of export is hinted at in Volvo’s statement. However, if the EM90 were to reach U.S. shores, it would likely be a few years away. Regardless of its destination, the hope is that the EM90’s serene and luxurious cabin design will influence future Volvo models.