Volvo EM90 faces tough competition in China
A completely new type of vehicle has recently been on the streets of Chinese cities: luxury vans. Models such as Zeekr 009, Denza D9, Hycan V09, Maxus Mifa 9 and Xpeng Because here the best seats are not at the front, but in row two. Anyone who used to be chauffeured in a limousine, preferably with an extended wheelbase, is now switching to a large van in the format of a VW Multivan or a Mercedes V-Class. And on weekends the car serves as a luxury shuttle for the family. But while European minibuses are usually derived from vans and hardly deny their commercial vehicle origins, the new Asian models were designed as luxury freighters from the start.
The latest representative is the fully electric Volvo EM90 (vehicle is not for sale, pending homologation)², which the Swedes call their living room on wheels. It was developed together with the Chinese parent company Geely specifically for the Middle Kingdom and will initially only be sold there. Given the model name EM90, one could assume a technical similarity to the large electric SUV EX90, which is also available in Germany. But instead of the SPA platform, the EM90 uses the Geely SEA platform, on which the Zeekr 009, but also the Volvo EX30, the Smart #1 and, in the future, the Polestar 4 are based.
Starting price from the equivalent of around 104,000 euros
To stay with the closely related Zeekr 009 – this is the equivalent of 41,000 euros cheaper in China than the EM90, which is available from 104,000 euros. But Volvo calculates that an attractive brand also attracts wealthy customers. After all, the money in China is still loose. In addition, Volvo wouldn’t have lost much if the EM90 were a sales flop. The Swedes have not done much more than learn from the mistakes of the Zeekr 009, which has been on sale since the beginning of 2023, and trim it internally to European luxury. Visually, the Swedish van is a mighty appearance: 5.20 meters long and over 2.30 meters wide, with a massive, backlit radiator cover. And so that you know what kind of luxury car is coming, the large Volvo logo shines brightly.
The flexible interior of the six-seater is dominated by two leather armchairs that could have come straight from first class on an airplane. To create space for the leg rest on the right seat, the front passenger seat is automatically moved forward when the reclining position is assumed. Of course, seat heating and ventilation as well as various massage programs should not be missing. And just like on an airplane, there are small folding tables in the backrests.
Luxury and even more luxury
If you want to relax after a stressful day at work, you can extend the large screen from the roof lining, enjoy TV or streaming offers and have up to 21 speakers provide sound. Using touch switches and screens in the sliding doors, the huge glass roof can be darkened or, which has so far been unusual for vans, the windows of the electric sliding doors can be opened. If the displays in the doors normally show the time, you can also use them to control the air conditioning in the rear.
As usual, the battery is located in the vehicle floor. No step, no center tunnel disturbs the interior. The floor extends flat to the rear seats. If the middle seats move forward, the two seats at the back are also easy to reach. Given the 3.25 tons that the EM90 weighs when fully loaded, it is not overly motorized at 200 kW/272 kW. Volvo estimates the sprint to 100 km/h in 8.3 seconds, and the top speed is 180 km/h. On the other hand: in traffic jams everyone moves at the same speed, and in China you can only drive at a maximum speed of 120 anyway. According to the Chinese CLTC test cycle, the EM90 is said to have an impressive range of up to 738 kilometers. More realistic is probably around 500 kilometers with the large 116 kWh NMC battery.
Is the Volvo van also coming to Europe?
The Volvo is charged via two separate ports. Using the fast charger, he fills the battery from 10 to 80 percent in just under half an hour via the rear left connection, according to the manufacturer. The cable from the home wallbox is plugged into the front left, where it only draws power in a single phase of 7.4 kW. That’s enough for China, because almost all public charging stations work with direct current. And if necessary, the battery can also be used as a power source (vehicle-to-load), for example for an e-bike or other electric car.
In the end, the question remains whether the EM90 might also come to Europe. This cannot be ruled out, because the parent company Geely has announced all Zeekr models for the Old Continent, but not the 009 van, which is much cheaper than the Volvo. Maybe the Swedes will wait and see how the Lexus LM fares in this country before making an announcement. After all, the Toyota offshoot is the first luxury van of a new generation that you can buy from us. (Text: tv, hb/sp-x | Images: manufacturer)