1In 959 Volvo invented the three-point seat belt. So today there is a little bit of Volvo in every new car. And perhaps in 2059 all new cars will only drive autonomously. The new Volvo EX90, which can already be ordered but will not be launched until the beginning of 2024, already has all the technology and, above all, the necessary software on board that is needed for autonomous driving.
The most obvious is the lidar at the front of the roof edge of the windshield. It detects the environment at a distance of up to 250 meters, regardless of lighting and weather conditions. It is part of a network of five other radar systems, eight cameras, 16 ultrasonic sensors and a central processing unit from Nvidia. 280 trillion operations per second can be processed. Lidar stands for Light Detection and Ranging, the new Volvo boss Jim Rowan, in office since March, described the laser system as groundbreaking as the three-point seat belt once was during the presentation of the new flagship in Stockholm. Well, let’s wait and see.
The electric EX90, which follows the XC90, which is a guarantee of success, but will not replace it because it will initially continue to roll off the assembly lines in Gothenburg in parallel, will be one of the first cars to be so demonstratively displayed by lidar. It’s actually every designer’s nightmare, and Robin Page, Sweden’s top mold designer, would have liked to have installed the technology in the bumper area. But she just doesn’t “see” far enough.
More graceful than the XC90
At least we managed not to make the EX90 look too powerful. Despite an external length of 5.04 meters, it is more graceful than the 4.95 meter long XC90. In fact, with a height of 1.74 meters, it is only three centimeters flatter. Although the platform is new and designed exclusively for electric propulsion, the wheelbase of 2.98 meters is the same. The platform is scalable, the upcoming EX60 will also be on it.
Volvo packs a powerful but relatively light lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 111 kWh for a standard range of almost 600 kilometers into the car floor. Direct current charges them with a maximum of 250 kW, so in theory a fairly empty battery can be charged to 80 percent in half an hour. Bidirectional charging is also possible, so that other vehicles, your own house or the general power grid can be supplied with energy from the batteries. Appropriate technology required.
At the market launch in 2024, the large Volvo will be offered in two versions, the basic model has 408 hp (300 kW). As a performance version, it’s 517 hp and a strong 910 Nm. Both have a motor on the front and rear axles and therefore all-wheel drive. Although it can be accelerated quickly – the sprint from 0 to 100 km/h can be as short as 4.9 or 5.9 seconds – the controversial Volvo speed limit of 180 km/h also applies here.
Later there should be cheaper versions with slimmed down equipment or only one engine and thus front-wheel drive. Volvo says the first customers have already ordered and paid 500 euros in advance. The two EX90 are in the price list with 105,550 and 110,650 euros. They are seven-seaters with a high-quality, but leather-free interior, the 13-inch, central touchscreen dominates the dashboard, the digital speedometer unit behind the steering wheel is rather small and inconspicuous.
The EX 90 is built in Ridgeville in the USA and later also in China. The cars for Germany and Europe come from South Carolina.