Everybody knows that electric vehicles are generally quieter than combustion cars, thanks to not having millions of explosions going on under the bonnet. But Volvo, with its all-new EM90 electric MPV, wants to take quietness to the next level, or at least that’s what we’re getting from the official press material.
Unveiled in all its glory yesterday for the Chinese market where MPVs are not just aimed at people who have kids, the Volvo EM90 boasts “top-notch sound insulation and road noise cancellation technology,” as well as dual-chamber air suspension and silent tyres. This combination of features should make for a whisper-quiet cabin during travelling, which has historically been a challenge for EV manufacturers.
Because there’s no engine noise to cover up the wind and road noise, these are usually perceived as being more pronounced in an EV. With its sound-deadening approach, Volvo might have a winner on its hands with the EM90, but we won’t know for sure until we get our hands on one. And as it stands today, we don’t know when that will happen, as the electric MPV is currently offered just in China, although other markets are under consideration.
Gallery: Volvo EM90 (2024)
Getting back to the tech, Volvo does mention that the cool-sounding road noise cancellation technology won’t be available from the get-go and that it will be implemented sometime in the future via an over-the-air update.
Noise-killing features aside, the EM90’s interior comes with a Bowers & Wilkins 21-speaker surround-sound system that can apparently transform the electric MPV into a private concert hall on the move, while a roof-mounted fold-down 15.6-inch screen acts as a TV on the go. It can be used for watching movies or taking video meetings, including with a video camera, and supports mobile screen projection and several third-party apps for media content.
There’s also a 15.4-inch infotainment screen for the driver, powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Cockpit Platforms that includes 5G cellular connectivity.
Volvo’s first-ever MPV has seating for six people in a 2-2-2 configuration, with the second-row passengers benefiting from a pair of massaging lounge chairs with individual ventilation and heating, plus built-in tables and cupholders. Two sliding doors make it easy for the rear passengers to get in and out.
Powering the EM90 is a single rear-mounted electric motor that makes 268 bhp (200 kilowatts). Drawing juice from a 116-kilowatt-hour battery pack, the boxy MPV can accelerate from zero to 62 miles per hour in 8.3 seconds.
That’s not too bad, considering it tops the scales at 2,763 kilograms (6,091 pounds) and measures an imposing 5,206 millimetres (205 inches) in length. The wheelbase is equally impressive at 3,205 mm (126 in), while the width is 2,024 mm (79.6 in) and the height is 1,859 mm (73.1 in).
Here’s where I mention what you, dear reader, might have already known about the Volvo EM90, and that’s the fact that the Swedish MPV is heavily based on the Chinese-market Zeekr 009. Both Volvo and Zeekr are under Geely’s umbrella, so it’s no surprise that the EM90 is almost identical in terms of specs and dimensions to its sister model.
Speaking of specs, the Scandinavian electric people mover’s battery can be recharged from 10 to 80 percent in less than 30 minutes, while the maximum range is quoted at 459 miles (738 km). However, it’s worth noting that the range figure is based on the rather optimistic China Light-Duty Vehicle Test Cycle (CLTC) which usually produces the highest range estimates compared to the WLTP and EPA figures.
Just like the EX90 SUV, the EM90 boasts bidirectional charging abilities, which means one can export power from the high-voltage battery to recharge another EV or power appliances or tools. Additionally, the EV can also send power back to the grid via the vehicle-to-grid (V2G) functionality.
On the safety side of things, the Volvo EM90 comes with an all-around sensor set with high-definition cameras, surround view cameras, a millimetre-wave radar, and several ultrasonic radars.
Design-wise, the electric MPV has Volvo’s signature Thor’s Hammer headlights that flank an illuminated faux grille that incorporates the brand’s illuminated logo. At the back, there’s a lit-up wordmark and a set of LED tail lights that are inspired by the skyline of modern cities, extending both upward and downward, while the dividing metal strip represents the core horizon line, Volvo says.
Four exterior colours and two aero wheel sizes, 19- and 20-inch, are available. Pricing starts at a pretty hefty €92,000, which is the equivalent of 818,000 yuan, so it’s safe to say it’s not exactly a direct competitor for the Chrysler Pacifica Plug-In Hybrid that goes for half that.
"The Volvo EM90 is a supremely comfortable electric car with a smart cabin, fast charging, a competitive driving range, Volvo's unique design language, and a high level of premium in every detail," said Jim Rowan. "But far more important is what it does for you. It gives you room to connect. Room to create. Room to relax. Room for you and for those around you."