First Volvo EM90s rolling of production line in China (update)

This week the first fully electric Volvo EM90 minivans are rolling of the production lines at Geely’s Hangzhou Bay plant in China. Volvo launched its EM90 in November last year, a close brother to the Zeekr 009. It gets a 200-kW electric motor on the rear axle powered by a 116-kWh battery for 738 km of CLTC range.

In China, the Volvo EM90 will retail at 818,000 yuan (€105,618), offering relatively less than its sibling, the Zeekr 009, which has dual motors, 400 kW of power, and a 140 kWh battery for an 822 km range at a list price of 500,000 yuan (€64,558). A hefty price difference for a Volvo badge?

With the EM90, we’re taking Volvo Cars’ heritage and leadership in safety into the exciting new electric MPV segment,” said Jim Rowan, CEO at Volvo Cars, presenting the new car on Sunday, November 12. “It allows us to tap new market demand we’ve not explored before and broadens the appeal of the Volvo brand to more people.”

Zeekr 009 brother

Volvo’s first minivan is a rebadged version of the Zeekr 009 that debuted last year. This explains the two models’ shared body panels, greenhouse, and proportions. In fact, the profile looks identical, setting aside the different alloy wheels.

Zeekr is Geely’s 100% Chinese premium brand. Geely is one of the biggest car manufacturers in China. A few years ago, it decided to have its own Chinese EV premium brand apart from the ‘Swedish’ ones it also owns, Volvo and Polestar. Meanwhile, Zeekr has agreed to come to Europe, first with the Zeekr 001, a model first developed for another Geely daughter, Lynk & Co.

The Zeekr 009 Minivan was its second model in China. It’s a luxury MPV with a dual-motor drive system providing 400 kW of peak motor power and 686 Nm of torque. It is the first to be fed by CATL’s new Qilin Battery in its top version. This 140 kWh battery pack boosts the van’s range to 822 km (CLTC standard, the Chinese WLTP).

In profile, the Volvo EM90 and the Zeekr 009 are almost identical; only the front and rear differ /Zeekr

Same profile, different front and rear

We already mentioned that the Volvo EM90 and the Zeekr 009 profile look almost identical, but the front and rear are different. EM90 adopts a unique face, incorporating styling features from other models in the Volvo lineup. Those include the signature Thor’s hammer LED headlights, the covered grille, and the bumper intakes, trying hard to look like the admittedly sleeker Volvo EX90 SUV flagship.

Moving over to the back, the Volvo-typical taillights with chrome details and the Volvo lettering between them are the only notable differences from the Zeekr.

According to the documents from China, the Volvo EM90 measures 5 206 mm in length,  is 2 024 mm wide, and 1 859 mm tall, with a generous wheelbase of 3 205 mm and a curb weight of 2 763 kg. For comparison, the Zeekr 009 is 3 mm longer and 8 mm taller due to the different nose and wheel size.

Only rear-wheel-drive, 738 km CLTC range

Unlike the Zeekr 009, which is exclusively available with dual electric motors producing 400 kW and driving four wheels, the Volvo EM90 has a single rear-mounted electric motor, which delivers 200 kW/268 hp). As with all Volvo models, the top speed of the electric minivan is electronically limited to 180 kph. There is no information if an AWD top version will follow.

CATL Geely manufactures the battery pack and uses the NMC (nickel manganese cobalt) technology. Volvo will use the same 116 kWh unit in the base-spec Zeekr 009.

As the Volvo EM90 is only RWD, its CLTC range is longer than the 702 km the AWD-only Zeekr sibling promises: the Volvo reaches 738 km. Remember that the CLTC standard is some 20 to 25% more optimistic than the European WLTP, so the range of the EM90 should turn around 550 to 600 kilometers.

It remains to be seen if the Volvo will also be offered with the larger 140 kWh CATL Qilin battery pack sometime in the future, further expanding its driving range. Like the EX90 SUV, the EM90 also offers bi-directional charging (V2G) when available in the country.

A Scandinavian living room

Given the Volvo presence, it’s still a question if the Zeekr 009 will also come to Europe. The other way round, the Volvo EM90 in China (where MPVs are booming) is sure, given the homologation demand at the CMIIT. It will even be launched there first.

Volvo will promote its EM90, its first real van, as a fully electric premium MPV designed for customers who spend much time in their car, professionally or otherwise. “It’s an age-old cliché, but there really is no place like home,” said Jim Rowan. “A place to connect with your loved ones, to truly be yourself. It’s this feeling of home that inspired our new EM90, a car with room for life.”

An additional, high-definition 15.6-inch screen mounted into the roof folds down whenever you want some entertainment for the family or take a business video meeting, even with a camera when needed. The screen also supports mobile screen projection and various third-party apps.

The roof-mounted screen is part of a multi-functional set of screens and smart surfaces that enable a variety of in-cabin scenarios. With the flick of a switch or a command to the voice assistant, you can quickly 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 Volvo EM90 offers six luxury seats with a 2+2+2 layout and a sound system with 21 Bowers & Wilkins speakers. Additional comfort comes courtesy of sound isolation and road noise cancellation technology. At the same time, dual-chamber air suspension and silent tires (on 20-inch wheels) try to smoothen the ride experience further for everyone traveling in the EM90.

“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,” concludes 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 those around you.”

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