Volvo EX30 to be the brand’s most affordable electric SUV [Update]

  • Will be Volvo Cars' smallest and most affordable EV
  • Could deliver a WLTP range of around 350 km (217 miles)
  • Likely to go on sale in Europe in H2 2023 with subscription-based sales model
  • Will compete with urban EVs like the Mercedes EQA and smart #1

Update: ‘Volvo EX30 Release Date’ section 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 will arrive in showrooms as ‘Volvo EX30’. Here’s everything we know about the future Volvo electric car.

‘EX’ branding

Volvo Cars will name its 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 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 EX30, filed on July 13, 2022, the same day as for Volvo EX90 and a dozen other names totaling 14. The Volvo EX30 application mentions that it is for goods and services under the Nice Class 12, with “electric vehicles; land motor vehicles” as the description. Moreover, Volvo Cars President and CEO Jim Rowan refers to the upcoming pure-electric small SUV as EX30, Automotive News Europe reported on December 5, 2022.

Design

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 entry-model would be “more streamlined” but still be “high”, because “people really are fond of high seating positions,” Volvo’s former 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 EX30 electric render front
TopElectricSUV’s rendition of the Volvo EX30 introduces the company’s new design language to a small city crossover.

At the world premiere of the Volvo EX90 on November 9, 2022, Volvo teased its small electric SUV for the first time. In the final moments of the presentation, the company presented a glimpse of the two EV launches programmed for 2023 (the other being the EX90). On January 8, 2023, Weibo user 孙什么_什么健 shared short clips of a heavily camouflaged test mule parked in Harbin, China, revealing further details.

The Volvo EX30 features a muscular exterior like the XC40 Recharge, but it looks more fluidic, which is mainly because of its beltline that has a visible rise right from the front. The roofline doesn’t appear to be as flattish as on the XC40 Recharge, but we’ll reserve our judgment until we get a full look at it. Oversized wheels in a funky yet aerodynamic design add to the charm of the XC40 Recharge’s younger sibling.

The front-end of the EX30 could give a clean and high-tech impression. As we’ve depicted in our rendering, it could feature a smooth, closed panel in the nose section and an active grille in the lower area. The headlamps could have a T-shape and integrate the new-generation Thor’s Hammer DRLs that dramatically split open to reveal the main (low- and high-beam) lights. Ice-cube-shaped LED fog lights stacked vertically should complement these head-turning headlamps.

A hunched rear-end lends the SUV a stubby look and a sporty stance. The combination lamps comprise a vertical stripe located on each side of the glass and conventionally positioned C-shaped lights, as seen on the EX90. The latter’s cluster will likely be wider than on the EX90, extending more inwards.

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)

Interior

As for the interior, expect Scandinavian vibes with a deep focus on functionality and minimalism. Volvo Cars may extensively use recycled, sustainably sourced materials. Another key feature we expect is a digital instrument cluster with customizable layouts, most likely measuring 12.3 inches diagonally.

Volvo EX30 interior spy shot
The Volvo EX30’s interior design and layout will be quite similar to the EX90. Image Source: Weibo/孙什么_什么健

Spy media indicates the Volvo EX30’s interior will have more or less the same design and layout as the EX90. We can already see that the gear selector is the same steering column stalk, integrating the electronic parking brake on the side. Similarly, the touchscreen of the infotainment system looks like a big floating tablet. It probably measures the same, too – 15 inches.

An Android Automotive OS-based touchscreen infotainment system should pack all the essential Google apps and services, including Play Store, Google Maps, and Google Voice. If not, Geely’s ECARX in-car technology is an option for the baby crossover.

The seats of the test mule probably have wool blend upholstery, which could be an optional feature. The standard seat upholstery could be Nordico, created from textiles consisting of recycled material such as PET bottles, as well as bio-attributed material from responsibly-managed Swedish and Finnish forests. It’s noteworthy that Volvo Cars is going leather-free.

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 in 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.

The smaller battery would also bring down the car’s price, as it is the single most expensive component in an EV. Like with competitors, a long-range version could be an option.

Volvo EX30 Release Date

Rowan has confirmed that the smaller SUV Volvo Cars teased during the EX90 world premiere, assumed to be the Volvo EX30, will debut on June 15, 2023, or somewhere around that time, Australia’s carsales reported on January 23, 2023. The company expects to draw more younger customers with the electric small SUV, Rowan added.

Rowan didn’t give an estimate about the EX30’s price but said it “will be a really nice price point.” Asked whether Volvo Cars’ entry point ever come back to below GBP 30,000 during Volvo Car Group’s Q2 2022 earnings conference call, 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 indicated 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.

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)

Rowan expects the alternative ownership option to bring new, younger customers to the brand. Speaking to Automotive News Europe, he suggested that 18 and 19-year-old Gen Z people will be the target customers.

Competitors & strategy

The EX30 will be a “big part” of the company’s targeted 1.2 million annual sales volume, which it expects to achieve by 2025, Rowan told Automotive News Europe. The company will be able to reach a new price demographic with this model, he added.

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.

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.

TopElectricSUV says

The EX30 could be a decent choice for young customers in urban areas, including new drivers, looking for an SUV that’s safe, sustainable, and stylish, and offers many advanced technologies for connectivity, comfort, and convenience.

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.

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 EX30 could have a range of around 350 km (217 miles).

Featured Image Source: Volvo Cars/Youtube