Volvo’s shift to all-electric continues with the launch of the 2024 EX90. It is a slick three-row crossover that introduces a totally new level of occupant safety. The key is the addition of a forward-facing LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging sensor). When combined with the other radars and cameras it has the potential to reduce severe crashes by up to 20 per cent. Any way you cut it that’s is a significant improvement.
The reason for amped up safety is the LiDAR, which sits above the front windshield on the roof, is capable of detecting pedestrians up to 250 metres down the road and “seeing” a black tire on a black road 120 metres ahead, and at night no less! The point is it improves the ability of all driver assistance systems by allowing the car to build an ultra-detailed picture of what lies ahead, and it goes well beyond the current standard. It’s such, LiDAR will be the driving sensor behind fully autonomous cars when they finally hit the road.
The EX90 will come two ways — the Two Motor and the Two Motor Performance. Both use two electric motors with one driving each axle. This gives it all-wheel-drive and ample power. The Two Motor model has a front motor that produces 160 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque; the rear motor adds another 241 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. The two combine to deliver a net system output of 402 hp and 568 lb-ft of torque. The Performance model uses the same rear electric motor, but gets a more powerful front motor with 268 hp and 361 lb-ft of torque. This ups the net output to a healthy 496 hp and 671 lb-ft of torque.
The electric motors get their juice from a 111 kilowatt-hour battery that delivers an estimated driving range of up to 482 km for the Two Motor model. Volvo has not released the Performance model’s range, but it will deliver slightly less. Both models can be charged from 10 to 80 per cent in 30 minutes when plugged into a 250 kW DC fast charger. However, using one of the more common 50 kW chargers found in Canada sees the time blossom to 97 mins, which is on the slow side. This makes a compelling argument for upgrading the infrastructure to the higher-kilowatt DC fast chargers needed to accommodate bigger batteries and the desire to keep charge times at a realistic level.
Part of the EX90’s range proposition comes from regenerative braking. Volvo promises it will have a proper one-pedal drive. Proper means the system will not stop the regen process when the vehicle reaches 15 km/h. Those cars that do shut down the regen leave the driver reaching for the brake pedal, which kills the reason for one-pedal in the first place. The EX90’s strategy will mirror that of the C40 in operation. This is a big plus, as it gives the driver complete control using nothing other than the accelerator pedal. While this is not for everyone if you do like it, you’ll love it.
The other plus is Volvo’s one-pedal only needs to be turned on once to become the default mode. In the likes of the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6 it must be turned on every single drive, so it is often forgotten until needed.
Inside, the EX90 has the technology and space needed to compete. The cabin is typically Swedish in its minimalism, but upscale nonetheless. It starts with two very comfortable, fully-articulated front seats and a solid driving position. The new layout does away with a conventional instrument panel and replaces it with a small oblong screen that welcomes the driver by name and limits the information to what’s really needed. To the right is a 14.5-inch multimedia screen that uses Google’s Android operating software. It, says Volvo, is “lightning-fast” and now works with Apple CarPlay, which gets rid of what was a major complaint.
Other important safety aids have also been upgraded. The Driver Understanding System uses two cameras, an active infrared sensor and a capacitive steering wheel to look at the driver’s eyes and driving posture to pick up on a distracted or drowsy driver. When it detects a less-than-alert driver it sounds warnings, however, if these go ignored the EX90 can put on the hazard flashers and bring the car to a safe stop at the side of the road.
Finally, every time the EX90 is locked a series of radars scan the entire car, including the trunk, to make sure a person or pet has not been left in the vehicle. If the system detects a living entity it leaves the car unlocked and turns on the climate control system to lower the risk of heatstroke or hypothermia.
As for the family aspect, there’s lots of people space in the first two rows and ample room for kids in the third row — adults can try it, but please be friends! There’s also plenty of cargo space. There’s 365 litres of space behind the third row, 1,010L behind the second row and 1,915L with everything folded flat. The neat part is there’s an under-floor storage area for the privacy cover when it’s not is use, which means it will not be left collecting dust in the garage. Of course, there’s a 37L frunk for the charger cable and dirty stuff.
The 2024 Volvo EX90 has a classy interior, lots of accommodating space, the right level of performance and, more importantly, it sets a new benchmark for occupant safety. Full specifications and pricing will be announced closer to the EX90’s launch early next year.