Update: ‘Design’ and ‘Specifications’ sections updated.
EV demand in China has never been higher, and in 2023, Fitch Ratings (via SCMP) estimates over 35% of passenger vehicle sales will come from EV models. Plus, with the nation’s new three-child policy, many automakers, including Volvo Cars, have begun lining up new electric MPVs. Recent local reports indicate an Electric Volvo Minivan has just received the green signal for launch.
In the first week of 2023, Volvo Cars Greater China Sales Company held a conference to talk about its performance in 2022 and give an outlook for the new year. Qin Peiji, the company’s President, said that China will get four electrified Volvos in 2023 (via Sina): EX90, EX90 Excellence, an electric small SUV (EX30), and an electric MPV. Peiji could have been referring to debuts/pre-sale activities, as there’s no way four different products, especially the Electric Volvo Minivan, can enter production and go on sale in 12 months.
Citing one of its sources familiar with EV developments happening Volvo Cars’ that are not yet public, Reuters published a report saying the company’s electric MPV will have a more “emotional” design than other Volvo EVs. This design will build on the Zeekr 009, as per the report.
The exterior design of the Electric Volvo Minivan could feature restrained but sophisticated styling cues, possibly reflecting some of the Swedish brand’s characteristic styling traits currently seen on the EX90 electric SUV. However, the electric minivan’s overall design may not be too dissimilar to that of the Zeekr 009.
Volvo has set the bar high when it comes to safety, sustainability and design, and follows its own EV product programs. However, it could be that the components/toolkit of the 009 offers Volvo a strong base to build its vehicle. We expect the Swedish electric minivan to feature the new-generation Thor’s Hammer LED headlamps (the EX90 features high-definition 1.3-megapixel lights), unique alloy wheels, distinctive rear combination lamps, and minimal shiny embellishments.
Interior & Features
Where the Zeekr 009 is only available in a 6-seater configuration, we think the Electric Volvo Minivan will likely come in a variant with seating for 7 people as well. Its cabin design and layout should be fairly minimalistic and clutter-free, with a decent amount of storage cubbies and comfortable seats with plenty of adjustments. Volvo Cars may use higher-quality materials and ensure the cabin doesn’t have too much bling, keeping the look and feel as Scandinavian as possible.
Since the Volvo MPV EV could be built on the SEA (discussed in the next section), and not the SPA 2 of the EX90, integrating the same new features from Volvo’s new flagship SUV may not be feasible in the MPV.
That said, our wishlist of features for the Electric Volvo Minivan includes air suspension, a rear-seat entertainment system, a high-end surround-sound audio system, large & crisp displays at the front for the instrument cluster and infotainment system, wireless phone charging, multi-zone automatic climate control, a panoramic glass roof, and the equivalent of Pilot Assist (autonomous driving functions).
Volvo Cars is developing its electric MPV at its R&D center in Shanghai, as per the Reuters report. Given that China will be this model’s main or only market worldwide, engineering it there instead of Sweden makes more sense, as the company would be able to tailor it to the requirements of its customers better.
The Electric Volvo Minivan is expected to inherit the same SEA platform that underpins the Zeekr 009. While there are no official details regarding the Volvo MPV’s dimensions, we expect it to be just as vast in size as the 009. For reference, the latter drives in at 5,209 mm (205.1 in.) in length, 2,024 mm (79.7 in.) in width, and 1,848 mm (72.8 in.)/1,856 mm (73.1 in.) in height, while the wheelbase stretches to 3,205 mm (126.2 in.).
The 009 is equipped with CATL’s high-density, cell-to-pack ‘Qilin’ batteries. The Electric Volvo Minivan could be offered with the same batteries from CATL, especially considering the two companies are part of a multi-billion-dollar long-term agreement that was signed back in May 2019.
Zeekr offers two battery pack size options – 116 kWh (WE version) and 140 kWh (ME version). The 116 kWh unit delivers a range (CLTC) of 702 km or 436 miles, while the 140 kWh unit allows traveling up to 822 km or 511 miles on a full charge (CLTC).
The Electric Volvo Minivan may also borrow the powertrain components from the Zeekr model, with a different tuning. The latter is powered by twin electric motors that produce 400 kW (536 hp) and 686 Nm (506 lb.-ft.) of torque, enabling a 0-100 kph (0-62 mph) sprint in 4.5 seconds. Zeekr claims that the 140 kWh battery pack of the 009 can be fast-charged from 10-80% in 28 minutes.
Release Date & Price
The Electric Volvo Minivan could be exclusive to the Chinese market. The brand’s product strategy involves launching 7 new EV models mid-decade, and the all-electric MPV could be the only China-only product among them. The Zeekr 009 costs CNY 499,000 (USD 73,669) onwards, while the Electric Volvo Minivan’s prices could start at around CNY 599,000 (USD 88,433).
China is one of the few remaining markets where there’s still demand for minivans. Combine that with the country’s burgeoning EV segment and the nation’s new three-child policy, an all-electric minivan starts to make a lot of sense even for automakers who haven’t waded into these waters previously. Already boasting a capable product in the EX90, Volvo’s upcoming electric MPV could help it grow strongly in this insatiable market.
Electric Volvo Minivan FAQs
What is the Electric Volvo Minivan release date?
The Electric Volvo Minivan will likely debut in Q4 2023 and go on sale in China by mid-2024.
What will be the Electric Volvo Minivan price?
The Electric Volvo Minivan could cost around CNY 599,000 (USD 88,433) in China.
Which models will be Electric Volvo Minivan rivals?
The Electric Volvo Minivan may compete with the likes of Zeekr 009, Maxus MIFA 9, and Voyah Dreamer.
Featured image: TopElectricSUV’s rendition of the Volvo electric minivan.