Volvo EM90 Minivan Probably Not Coming to North America
Earlier this year, Volvo teased the all-electric EM90 minivan. However, the model will reportedly be exclusive to Asian markets — disappointing dozens of North American residents who still believe it’s the most practical vehicle type.
Though the EM90 isn’t your average runabout. It’s a luxury-minded product catering to Chinese tastes. While minivans have become pure poison on our market, Asian countries still utilize them due to the fact that they offer more interior space than just about everything else. In Japan, you tend to see smaller MPVs (multi-purpose vehicles) and microvans serving in lieu of pickup trucks.
But China has a penchant for larger models, decked out with the kind of luxury inclusions you’d normally see on a Maybach Mercedes. It’s been assumed Volvo’s EM90 would be manufactured with similar intentions, as the model will almost assuredly be based on the Zeekr 009 (pictured) — a new luxury van produced by Volvo’s Chinese parent company Geely.
The 009 comes with either a 116-kWH battery pack or a 140-kWh unit that’s allegedly capable of offering over 500 miles of range on the Chinese test cycle. However, it has to be said those protocols often result in figures far higher than the European test cycle, which is in turn much more optimistic than what would be coming from the United States’ own EPA.
However, the 500-plus horsepower (and torque to match) figure stemming from the Zeekr’s dual-motor setup should be the same regardless of market and is allegedly capable of bringing the van to 60 mph in roughly 4.5 seconds. That’s mighty quick for a minivan, especially one as big (205 inches long) and heavy as the 009.
But the most important aspect is the van’s interior. While minivans targeting the American market rarely offered the kind of luxury options you’d find in premium automobiles, their Chinese equivalents have moved in the opposite direction. Rather than maximizing interior space to haul around a family of seven, Chinese vans often reserve interior space for larger seats and create a more open environment for passengers.
For a time, it looked like Volvo might try to make the EM90 a global product and see how it played on the North American market. While we’ve only seen a few teaser images, its design was certainly a better fit than the 009 decidedly Chinese exterior. But the company has recently said pre-orders for Chinese customers will open on November 12th, adding that it would probably remain exclusive to the Asian market.
This was presumably the correct choice, as the vehicle would undoubtedly be priced above $70,000 if it shares the brunt of its hardware with the Zeekr 009 and be subject to some importation issues due to being manufactured outside the region.
But a minivan degenerate like myself does wonder if there would be some appetite among EV shoppers who don’t seem to mind novel vehicles and tend to shop upmarket anyway. Minivans are also infinitely practical vehicles and the obsession with crossovers cannot last forever. Though I think I said that same thing a few years ago and they’ve only gotten more popular since then.
What are your thoughts? Could a luxury-themed minivan like the Volvo EM90 have had a home on our market or are we still shunning them to a point that would make it an abject failure?
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