Volvo EX30 likely to be the brand’s most affordable electric SUV

Update: ‘Will not wear a Volvo XC20/XC30 badge’ and ‘Competitors & strategy’ sections updated.

It is no news that Volvo Cars is developing an electric SUV smaller than the 40 Series EVs. A report from evlook.com suggests that internally and in the supply chain, the upcoming electric car goes by the codename ‘Volvo V216.’ TopElectricSUV.com has learned that this small electric SUV could arrive in showrooms as ‘Volvo EX30’. Here’s everything we know about it so far:

Will not wear a Volvo XC20/XC30 badge

Volvo Cars is likely to name its new baby SUV as per its new naming convention, which it is introducing with the Volvo EX90. The names of future Volvo EVs could consist of four or five characters, with ‘E’ for the electric powertrain, followed by ’S,’ ‘V,’ ‘X,’ ‘XC,’ or ‘C’ as per the body style (sedan, wagon, SUV, or SUV-coupe), and then a multiple of 10 depending on the vehicle segment as per the current nomenclature.

Our above speculation is based on recent trademark applications of Volvo Trademark Holding AB, a company jointly owned by Volvo Cars and Volvo Group, at EUIPO. One of these applications is for the name Volvo EX60, filed on July 13, 2022, the same day as for Volvo EX90 and a dozen other names totaling 14. The Volvo EX60 application mentions that it is for goods and services under the Nice Class 12, with “electric vehicles; land motor vehicles” as the description.

Design & Interior

Digital artist Nicolas Fourny’s rendering of the Volvo EX30 (featured image) is quite interesting, as it also previews a model smaller than the XC40. However, there aren’t enough takers for a two-door SUV. Just ask the convertible and coupe variants of the Range Rover Evoque, which were pulled off the market after a brief period! One can safely expect the Volvo V216 with proper rear doors and access to the boot via a conventional tailgate.

Volvo XC20 (Volvo EX30) concept rear three quarter sketch
Volvo is switching to unique titles for upcoming electric models, which are real names and not alphanumerics. Lukasz Myszynski’s Volvo XC-X concept pictured. Image Source: Behance

Håkan Samuelsson, former President and CEO, Volvo Cars, talked about the design of the upcoming small SUV on the sidelines of the Volvo C40 launch in March 2021, helping form a mental picture. The company feels the need for more electric SUVs and has them in its development pipeline, he added. The so-called Volvo EX30 would be “more streamlined” but still be “high”, because “people really are fond of high seating positions,” Volvo’s chief explained. It wouldn’t be as squarish as current Volvo SUVs and will have a softer roofline, aiding the aerodynamics that would improve the range.

Volvo Cars could “surprise” with unconventionally designed EV models in the future, Samuelsson suggested at the Volvo Car Group half-year 2021 financial results presentation. He said:

Electrification will also change the shape of the cars; they need to be more aerodynamic, so maybe we will surprise people a bit there in the future. It’s not just the conventional cars as we have had so far.

Håkan Samuelsson, former President and CEO, Volvo Car Group (Volvo Car Group half-year financial results, 2021)

As for the interior, expect Scandinavian vibes with a deep focus on functionality and minimalism. Volvo Cars may extensively use recycled, sustainably sourced materials and maybe avoid using leather in the cabin. Another key feature we expect is a digital instrument cluster with customizable layouts, most likely measuring 12.3 inches diagonally. An Android Automotive OS-based touchscreen infotainment system is a given, and it should pack all the essential Google apps and services, including Play Store, Google Maps, and Google Voice. Geely’s ECARX in-car technology could be an option for the baby crossover.

Volvo EX30 to ride on Geely’s Sustainable Experience Architecture

The Volvo EX30 was first reported by Auto Express in 2021. At the 2020 Beijing Auto Show, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group unveiled the Lynk & Co Zero Concept. The electric SUV concept is underpinned by a new platform called ‘Sustainable Experience Architecture’. The Chinese conglomerate owns the Volvo Car Group which controls the Volvo and Polestar brands.

Geely Volvo SEA2 platform
Sustainable Experience Architecture is the world’s first open-source EV architecture and is designed for a global 5-star safety standard. Image: ZGH

During the discussion with Auto Express, Samuelsson revealed that the Volvo EX30 could be an all-electric model and off-road capability might not be a focal point. Samuelsson spoke to the British auto publication about leveraging the parent company’s new architecture. “We’ll also use SEA,” Samuelsson said. Explaining why Volvo Car Group is looking at SEA instead of CMA for the potential Volvo EX30, Samuelsson said it’s difficult to manufacture a smaller product, which would need to be cheaper, without the necessary cost and scale.

Kent Bovellan, the Chief Engineer for the SEA Architecture, discussed the SEA platform with Malaysian media in 2021, as per reported by Paultan. Bovellan revealed that SEA will have five versions spread across vehicle segments:

  1. SEA1 – D-segment (mid-size vehicles), E-segment (executive vehicles), and F-segment (full-size vehicles)
  2. SEA2 – B-segment (sub-compact vehicles), C-segment (compact vehicles), D-segment (mid-size vehicles)
  3. SEA Entry (SEA-E) – A-segment (city cars) and budget vehicles
  4. SEA Sport (SEA-S) – Sporty vehicles
  5. SEA Commercial (SEA-C) – Commercial vehicles weighing 3.5-5.5 tonnes

The Volvo EX30 could ride on the SEA2 platform, which spawned the smart #01 electric SUV, another B-segment model, in April 2022. smart is Mercedes and Geely’s urban mobility brand. Automakers can use the SEA2 platform to develop EVs with a wheelbase ranging between 2,650 and 2,900 mm.

Zeekr 001 front three quarters left side
The Zeekr 001 debuted as the first SEA platform-based production model in April 2021. More specifically, it sits on the SEA1 platform. Image Source: ZGH

Where the CMA’s development took place in Sweden, the SEA was developed in China for the local market where volumes are higher for EVs. Thus, there are significant savings involved in the new platform, with the former Volvo Car Group boss saying Chinese suppliers allow “a very good cost structure.”

Specifications

Volvo will launch its entry-level EV to the market as a single-motor FWD model, according to evlook.com and CAR.

The battery pack options available in the SEA2 platform-based EVs will provide a range of at least around 460 km or 286 miles, suggests the Paultan report. Bovellan came up with that range considering 12.5 kWh/100 km as the power consumption figure, which means that the energy content of SEA platform-based EVs’ smallest battery pack could be 58 kWh. However, these range and energy consumption figures might not be according to the WLTP test cycle, which is more stringent and realistic than the Chinese test cycle (CLTC).

The previous speculation was that standard variants of the Volvo city hopper may not travel more than 241 km (150 miles) on a full charge in real-world conditions as it would be an urban type of vehicle, much like the Honda e or the Mini Cooper SE.

The smaller battery would also bring down the car’s price, as it is the single most expensive component in an EV. Volvo Cars could consider a 40-45 kWh battery pack for the EX30 to match the expectations of the urban customer. Like with competitors, a long-range version (offering over 200 miles in the real world) could be an option.

Volvo EX30 release date & retail

The Volvo EX30 will arrive after the Volvo EX90. On July 20, 2022, during Volvo Car Group’s Q2 2022 earnings conference call, Jim Rowan, President and CEO, Volvo Cars, confirmed that 2023 will be that year. Asked whether the brand’s entry point ever come back to below GBP 30,000, he said:

We’ve said it already. So we have the new electric version of our current XC90 product, which we’ll launch in the fourth quarter of this year. We’ve also said that we’ll be launching a smaller SUV next year, so in 2023, and that’s a really important part of our product line-up because that gives us then the smaller SUV, the 40, the C40, then obviously the 90, and then of course eventually the fully electric replacement for the 60 as well.

Jim Rowan, President and CEO, Volvo Cars (Volvo Car Group Q2 2022 earnings conference call on July 20, 2022)

During the Volvo Car Group half-year 2021 financial results presentation, Samuelsson had almost confirmed that the manufacturing of the Volvo EX30 would take place in China. The evlook.com report also indicates that tenders for the equipment needed to manufacture the Volvo V216 were floating in the Chinese market in 2021.

Regarding timing, we’ve said the next new electric car is really the successor of our SUV flagship. That’s the first one; after that, there will be a smaller SUV, and that’s what we’re talking about here. It’s very likely it will be made in China, yes.

Håkan Samuelsson, former President and CEO, Volvo Car Group (Volvo Car Group half-year financial results, 2021)
Volvo EX30 teaser
The Volvo EX30 (circled) is likely to debut in the second half of 2023 in two range variants. Image Source: Volvo Cars

Subscription model

Rowan confirmed during Volvo Car Group’s Q2 2022 earnings conference call that the new Volvo EX30 will be available on a subscription basis. He expects the alternative ownership option to bring new, younger customers to the brand.

When you offer subscription-based ownership on a lower-priced but still premium product, you can reach a much younger demographic. And remember, Gen Z is coming in now to own the buy books, so they’re coming into first time buyers. We think with that combination of a lower-priced, premium product, which we’ll release next year, as well as consumer base below that age, then we’ll bring in that new demographic maybe for the first time in a long time to Volvo as a customer.

Jim Rowan, President and CEO, Volvo Cars (Volvo Car Group Q2 2022 earnings conference call on July 20, 2022)

Competitors & strategy

The Volvo EX30 may arrive as an online-only model, like the C40 Recharge. Customers would get to view the vehicle in person at a dealership and take a test drive, but the order process may take place exclusively online. This process should apply to even the ‘Care by Volvo’ subscriptions.

The list of competitors would include the upcoming MINI Aceman and the smart #1. If it goes as planned, Volvo’s electric vehicles will account for 50% of global sales from no later than 2025, for the Swedish brand. By 2030, that number would change to 100% as the company will stop selling thermal-engined vehicles at the end of the decade.

Demand for Recharge plug-in hybrid and pure electric models is on the rise, giving Volvo Cars more confidence to intensify electrification. In 2020, 27% of the company’s sales (661,713 units) came from Recharge models. In 2021, Recharge models recorded solid year-over-year growth of 63.9%. The company sold a total of 189,216 Recharge models in 2021, with 163,489 units coming from PHEVs and 25,727 units coming from EVs. Individually, PHEV sales grew by 47.6%, while EV sales saw a whopping 452.2% growth!

In H1 2022, Volvo Cars sold 291,300 vehicles, 23% lower than in H1 2021 (380,800 vehicles). 94,000 of these vehicles were units of Recharge models, which was just a 0.2% improvement from H1 2021 (93,800 vehicles). However, 22,200 of these Recharge vehicles were pure electric, which marked a remarkable improvement of 122% from H1 2021 (10,000 vehicles). The latest sales data indicates a surge in demand for Volvo EVs.

Volvo EX30 FAQs

What is the Volvo EX30 release date?

The Volvo EX30 is expected in the second half of 2023 as a streamlined city crossover. Note that it would carry an entirely different name.

What would be the Volvo EX30 rivals?

The Volvo EX30 would rival cars like the Mercedes EQA and the smart #1.

What is the expected range and specs of the Volvo EX30?

SEA platform allows 120 km (74.5 mi) range in under 5 min of charging. The top-spec Volvo EX30 could have a range of around 350 km (217 miles).

Featured Image Source: ‘Volvo SC20’ by Nicolas Fourny