Auto Trader cars

Skip to contentSkip to footer

New Volvo EM90 Coming Soon: Specs, price and release info

New pictures confirm Volvo’s ambition to create “a Scandinavian living room on the move” with its EM90 luxury people carrier

Dan Trent

Words by: Dan Trent

Published on 14 November 2023 | 0 min read

Volvo’s decision to stop selling its iconic estate cars in the UK in favour of SUVs caused much soul searching for long-standing fans of the brand. But were we too quick to mourn the death of the traditional Volvo? And is the format simply being reinvented for the modern age? Enter the new Volvo EM90, “the first ever fully electric premium MPV” according to the hype and now with more information and pictures on what that looks like inside and out.
The apparent revival of the ‘people carrier’ format and return of the classic boxy Volvo is perhaps some relief for those not ready to jump on the SUV bandwagon. Supremely practical, people carriers like the Renault Espace, Volkswagen Sharan and Ford S-Max were once hugely popular but have since all but disappeared, buyers now going with taller-riding SUVs or opting for ‘civilian’ versions of popular commercials like the VW Transporter or Ford Transit, like the one we’ve been running here. Volkswagen’s reinvention of the format with the car-based Multivan and retro-styled electric ID.Buzz have, meanwhile, reminded people just how useful a big, boxy vehicle can be. Like the quirky Lexus LM350h we tested recently the Volvo EM90 clearly senses opportunity to put a premium twist on the format. We’ll just have to hope Volvo looks again at its ‘SUV only’ policy for the UK and decides to bring it to this country as well. • EM90 is described as a ‘fully electric premium MPV’, with seating for six in lounge-style individual chairs • Name suggests it could be based on the forthcoming EX90 electric SUV • Huge battery means a range of over 400 miles, though this is according to a Chinese market test cycle rather than the WLTP one most manufacturers use in Europe • So-called ‘bi-directional charging’ means the EM90 can itself be used as a home power bank, or for charging other electric vehicles • Currently no plans to offer the EM90 in the UK

Design and Model Available

The new pictures released by Volvo reveal a bluff, boxy design with a twinkly ‘grille’ apparently inspired by city scapes and the kind of glassy skyscrapers we associate with the rapidly growing cities in the Chinese market the EM90 is designed for. Volvo’s signature ‘Thor’s Hammer’ headlight design is present and correct, while at the back tall, slender tail lights again reference the city environments you’d expect the EM90 to work best in. Like the Lexus LM350h, the EM90 makes the best of its huge interior space to deliver The bad news? While the EM90 looks cool Volvo UK’s recently stated plans to concentrate on SUVs and crossovers mean it may not be available here.

Interior and tech

Volvo has long been pushing itself upmarket, and the EM90 takes that idea and runs with it, albeit in a slightly unusual direction. While the driver is, of course, well catered for the real focus is on the passengers, especially the ones in the four individual seats in the rear cabin. These use what Volvo describes as ‘zero gravity’ padding for a sense of supreme comfort, and each occupant gets control over heating, ventilation and other settings to create their own personal space. Middle row seats also recline and can be equipped with massage and other luxuries while noise-cancelling technology, air suspension and what are described as ‘silent tyres’ help create a sense of inner calm. Whether for entertainment or hosting a business meeting on the move a 15.6-inch screen can be unfolded from the roof for those in the back, a 21-speaker stereo by Bowers & Wilkins creating what Volvo describes as a ‘private concert hall on the move’ as you go about your travels. Control via screens, voice or what are called ‘smart surfaces’ helps you configure the inside of your EM90 according to what you’re doing, ambient lighting able to create a variety of moods while a panoramic roof increases the sense of airiness. Per its original release the overall vibe will be like that of “a Scandinavian living room on the move”, or so it’s claimed. Given the interiors on Volvo’s existing cars we’d expect that to be a cut above Ikea standard as well, with lots of sustainably sourced materials like recycled plastics, reclaimed woods and similar.

Batteries and Range

Call it an informed guess but we’re assuming the EM90 shares tech with the already revealed EX90 luxury SUV, though the pure electric drive system has been tuned less for power and performance in this case and more for range. Just shy of 150 horsepower from the electric motor is enough to be getting on with and just the job for smooth, refined transport around the city while a huge battery promises over 400 miles between charges according to the Chinese testing figures Volvo is currently quoting.

Price and Release

As reported when first revealed, the EM90 is designed for the Chinese market with no current plans to sell it in Europe. Watch this space, though, and if sales of the Lexus LM350h take off don’t be surprised if Volvo reconsiders its original plans.

What other cars from Volvo are due this year?

It’s a busy time for Volvo, the smaller EX30 going the other way and offering a more affordable way to drive an electric Volvo. The large and luxurious EX90 SUV will, meanwhile, offer a more European-centric twist on the EM90’s themes.

What other cars that are upcoming will this compete with?

Given most car makers have more or less abandoned MPVs as a format Volvo should have some clear space to operate in with the EM90, though the aforementioned VW Multivan and ID.Buzz will likely be on the radar of buyers for cars of this type. The recently updated Mercedes-Benz V-Class and aforementioned Lexus LM350h are also doing the luxury people carrier thing, and available in the UK.