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Volvo’s first MPV! EM90 is a business class electric people carrier with a 458-mile range – but is it coming to the UK?


Volvo has unveiled its latest model – and it’s not like anything we’ve seen from the Swedish brand before.

Called the EM90, it’s the brand’s first ever MPV, complete with sliding doors on both sides and has been ‘designed to be a comfortable living room on the move’, with business-class shuttle and taxi services in mind – as well as affluent families looking for a massive electric vehicle.

It’s a departure from Volvo’s traditional car range, with the company earlier this year announcing it will no longer sell its statement estate models in the UK, instead focussing primarily on ever-popular SUVs.

And it’s unclear if the EM90 – which is touted to have a battery range in excess of 450 miles – will be available in Britain’s showrooms in the coming months, as Volvo has one specific market in mind for it’s premium people carrier.

Volvo's first MPV! The Swedish brand has just unveiled its new EM90 - a luxury electric people carrier aimed at high-end shuttle services and affluent familes

Volvo’s first MPV! The Swedish brand has just unveiled its new EM90 – a luxury electric people carrier aimed at high-end shuttle services and affluent familes

The EM90 will go head-to-head with high-end MPVs of the likes of Mercedes’ V-Class – which has dominated the market for years – and Lexus’ newcomer, the big-grilled LM.

Like the latter, the design is a futuristic take on a big family transporter.

The company’s ‘Thor’s Hammer’ LED headlight at the front are combined with an illuminating grille and logo – a first for a Volvo – that ‘greets’ drivers when they approach the vehicle.

The brick-shaped silhouette is said to be inspired by ‘skyscrapers and cutting-edge immersive art’, while the rear also gets illuminated wording across the boot lid.

It is said to take influence from the fifties Volvo Duett estate – a model that was marketed as ‘two cars into one’, given it could be used as a van or a family motor. 

Volvo says its new EM90 is 'designed to be a comfortable living room on the move'. Here's what we know about the car so far

Volvo says its new EM90 is ‘designed to be a comfortable living room on the move’. Here’s what we know about the car so far

The company's 'Thor’s Hammer' LED headlight at the front are combined with an illuminating grille and logo - a first for a Volvo - that 'greets' drivers when they approach the vehicle

The company’s ‘Thor’s Hammer’ LED headlight at the front are combined with an illuminating grille and logo – a first for a Volvo – that ‘greets’ drivers when they approach the vehicle

The brick-shaped silhouette is said to be inspired by 'skyscrapers and cutting-edge immersive art', while the rear also gets illuminated wording across the boot lid (seen here)

The brick-shaped silhouette is said to be inspired by ‘skyscrapers and cutting-edge immersive art’, while the rear also gets illuminated wording across the boot lid (seen here)

Volvo says the EM90 is inspired by its 1950s Duett estate (pictured) - a model that was marketed as 'two cars into one', given it could be used as a van or a family motor

Volvo says the EM90 is inspired by its 1950s Duett estate (pictured) – a model that was marketed as ‘two cars into one’, given it could be used as a van or a family motor

While not confirmed, the EM90 should measure in a just over 5.2 metres long, 2 metres wide, and almost 1.9 metres tall, making it by far its biggest passenger car in a 96-year lineage.

Volvo bosses say it will ‘broaden the appeal of Volvo and meet even more customer needs’. 

But those customers might not necessarily be British.

That’s because this is a vehicle created expressly with the Chinese market in mind – and it’s there where it will launch first. In fact, motorists in China can already pre-order one.

The EM90 will go head-to-head with high-end MPVs of the likes of Mercedes' V-Class - which has dominated the market for years - and Lexus' newcomer, the big-grilled LM

The EM90 will go head-to-head with high-end MPVs of the likes of Mercedes’ V-Class – which has dominated the market for years – and Lexus’ newcomer, the big-grilled LM

It uses a 116kWh battery, which provides a quoted range of up to 458 miles (738km). This powers a single 200kW (268bhp) electric motor on the rear axle delivering acceleration from 0-62mph in 8.3 seconds. That's pretty impressive for a bus!

It uses a 116kWh battery, which provides a quoted range of up to 458 miles (738km). This powers a single 200kW (268bhp) electric motor on the rear axle delivering acceleration from 0-62mph in 8.3 seconds. That’s pretty impressive for a bus!

Volvo says its battery pack can be charged from 10 to 80% in under half an hour and the battery has bi-directional charging, meaning it can be used as a power source to charge other EVs or domestic appliances

Volvo says its battery pack can be charged from 10 to 80% in under half an hour and the battery has bi-directional charging, meaning it can be used as a power source to charge other EVs or domestic appliances

How far can it go on a fully charge? 

The EM90 is based on the Zeekr 009 MPV – a Chinese brand also owned by Volvo’s parent company, Geely Automobile Holdings based in Zhejian.

It shares the sibling vehicle’s 116kWh battery, which provides a quoted range of up to 458 miles (738km).

However, that claim is based on China’s official test method and not the WLTP (World Hamonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure) cycle used to measure fuel economy and EV range for motors sold in Britain.

Volvo says its battery pack can be charged from 10 to 80 per cent in under half an hour, while the 200kW (268bhp) electric motor powering the rear wheels delivers acceleration from a standstill to 62mph in 8.3 seconds. That’s pretty impressive for a bus!

And there is potential for a vastly quicker version, too, granted Zeekr loans its more potent twin-motor drivetrain, which would not only double the EM90’s power output but half its 0-to-62mph sprint time.

Like Volvo’s flagship electric SUV – the EX90 – the EM90 has the capacity to offer bi-directional charging, a feature that means the battery in the vehicle can be utilised as a power bank to charge other electric cars and domestic appliances.

It comes equipped with the brand's 'safe space' technology designed to help protect everyone in and around the car. Bosses claim it 'brings our 96 years of safety DNA and extensive knowledge based on real-world accident research into a new segment'

It comes equipped with the brand’s ‘safe space’ technology designed to help protect everyone in and around the car. Bosses claim it ‘brings our 96 years of safety DNA and extensive knowledge based on real-world accident research into a new segment’

The EM90 is packed with safety kit, including a driver assistance system powered by a suite of tech made up of all-round sensors, high-definition, surround-view cameras, a millimetre wave radar and ultrasonic radars

The EM90 is packed with safety kit, including a driver assistance system powered by a suite of tech made up of all-round sensors, high-definition, surround-view cameras, a millimetre wave radar and ultrasonic radars

It’s a Volvo therefore it’s safe 

As you’d expect from Volvo, the EM90’s safety credentials are pretty impressive.

It comes equipped with the brand’s ‘safe space’ technology designed to help protect everyone in and around the car.

Bosses claim it ‘brings our 96 years of safety DNA and extensive knowledge based on real-world accident research into a new segment’.

This includes a ‘strong safety cage’, with high-strength steels housing the cabin to protect occupants if the vehicle is involved in a crash.

The windscreen A-pillars are doubled up, allowing for a glass side window to boost visibility when pulling out of junctions but also keep the structure of the shell strong if there is a head-on collision.

Even the battery pack has state-of-the-art protection, including a strong structure made of steel and aluminium that enables a ‘safe and stable performance in real-world crash scenarios’.

Volvo says the airbags have been ‘optimally placed’ for passenger protection, while those on the outside are kept safe by a driver assistance system powered by a suite of tech made up of all-round sensors, high-definition, surround-view cameras, a millimetre wave radar and ultrasonic radars. 

‘Safety is always our top priority and we aim to make our cars some of the safest on the market. The EM90 is the latest expression of that ambition,’ explained Åsa Haglund, head of Volvo Cars’ Safety Centre. 

‘The premium MPV segment is a new one for us, and the EM90 allows us to bring our long heritage and extensive knowledge in automotive safety to a new group of customers.’

Unlike other people carriers of these proportions, it doesn't have seven seats. Instead, there are three banks of two, with first-class lounge chairs in the second row providing the best comfort levels

Unlike other people carriers of these proportions, it doesn’t have seven seats. Instead, there are three banks of two, with first-class lounge chairs in the second row providing the best comfort levels

The second row of seats in the EM90 are business class-style chairs with heat and cooling settings, plenty of electrical adjustment and long-trip reclining settings by sliding back into the cabin

The second row of seats in the EM90 are business class-style chairs with heat and cooling settings, plenty of electrical adjustment and long-trip reclining settings by sliding back into the cabin

Both seats come with folding tray tables and individual haptic control panels for the climate control and various other functions, including for the 15.6-inch screen

Both seats come with folding tray tables and individual haptic control panels for the climate control and various other functions, including for the 15.6-inch screen

What’s it like inside? 

As well as very safe, the EM90 should be impeccably quiet – even by EV standards.

That’s because Volvo has gone to town to make it as refined as a people carrier can possibly be, kitting-out the MPV with ‘top-notch sound isolation and road noise cancellation technology’, together with dual-chamber air suspension and ‘silent’ tyres.

All these features work together to minimise wind and road rumble, and means occupants can ‘fully enjoy the optimum sound quality from a total of 21 Bowers & Wilkins speakers embedded in your own private concert hall on the move’.

Unlike other people carriers of these proportions, it doesn’t have seven seats. 

Instead, there are three banks of two, with first-class lounge chairs in the second row providing the best comfort levels.

These have the choice of heated and cooling settings, plenty of electrical adjustment and long-trip reclining settings by sliding back into the cabin. 

As well as very safe, the EM90 should be impeccably quiet - even by EV standards. That's because Volvo has gone to town to make it as refined as a people carrier can possibly be

As well as very safe, the EM90 should be impeccably quiet – even by EV standards. That’s because Volvo has gone to town to make it as refined as a people carrier can possibly be

'You can easily turn the interior of the EM90 into a theatre, a meeting room, or a bedroom for the rear seats. Screens, seats, windows, air conditioner and lighting will all be adjusted accordingly,' the brand states.

‘You can easily turn the interior of the EM90 into a theatre, a meeting room, or a bedroom for the rear seats. Screens, seats, windows, air conditioner and lighting will all be adjusted accordingly,’ the brand states.

This large 15.6-inch screen folds out of a ceiling panel to allow passengers in the back to host video calls and use smartphone mirroring on the move

This large 15.6-inch screen folds out of a ceiling panel to allow passengers in the back to host video calls and use smartphone mirroring on the move

The MPV's cockpit will be familiar to anyone who has stepped into recent Volvo models, with a minimalist dashboard consisting of a 15.4-inch infotainment screen and a separate digital driver display interface. It's lack of buttons on the centre console and steering wheel could be a problem, though...

The MPV’s cockpit will be familiar to anyone who has stepped into recent Volvo models, with a minimalist dashboard consisting of a 15.4-inch infotainment screen and a separate digital driver display interface. It’s lack of buttons on the centre console and steering wheel could be a problem, though…

Both seats come with folding tray tables and individual haptic control panels for the climate control and various other functions, including for the 15.6-inch screen that folds out of a ceiling panel to allow passengers to host video calls and use smartphone mirroring on the move.

‘You can easily turn the interior of the EM90 into a theatre, a meeting room, or a bedroom for the rear seats. Screens, seats, windows, air conditioner and lighting will all be adjusted accordingly,’ the brand states.

The MPV’s cockpit will be familiar to anyone who has stepped into recent Volvo models, with a minimalist dashboard consisting of a 15.4-inch infotainment screen and a separate digital driver display interface.

The decluttered interior does away with most of the physical controls on the steering wheel and centre console, which – while improving the aesthetic – isn’t always the most practical solution.

In fact, the same decision with just-released EX30 SUV has been one of the car’s biggest criticisms – you can find out why by reading our first drive report here.

The EM90 is 'coming first' to China and Volvo has not yet said where else it could be sold, including the UK. It will cost 818,000 Chinese yuan, which converts to roughly to £ 91,670

The EM90 is ‘coming first’ to China and Volvo has not yet said where else it could be sold, including the UK. It will cost 818,000 Chinese yuan, which converts to roughly to £ 91,670

How much would it likely cost if it did come to the UK? 

The EM90 is ‘coming first’ to China and Volvo has not yet said where else it could be sold, including the UK.

Shortly after its unveiling, Volvo posted on social media that it will ‘look into the demand of MPVs around the world before launching in other markets’. 

The recent decision to go SUV-only might be a blocker for it going on sale here, though Volvo could be tempted by the recent success of Lexus’ LM, which has reportedly seen plenty of demand with 170 orders already placed for the £89,995 luxury motor.

And the EM90 would likely be competitively priced, given its 818,000 yuan launch cost in China, which converts to roughly to £91,670 in pound sterling.

Bosses said: ‘The EM90 presents an important addition to our fully electric portfolio and will support our position as one of the fastest-growing brands in the premium pure electric segment. 

‘While the premium MPV segment in China is relatively small today, it is an important one. And in the spirit of the Duett, our EM90 premium MPV serves a dual purpose for its customers.

‘When the car is not used for family trips, it doubles as executive business transport that offers the ultimate comfortable interior environment for meetings and business calls. 

‘In short, for customers looking for safety and a spacious, versatile and comfortable premium experience on the move, the EM90 is an exciting new option for them.’

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