Volvo EM90 Minivan Probably Not Coming to North America

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

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?

[Images: Geely]

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3 of 24 comments
  • Theflyersfan The two Louisville truck plants are still operating, but not sure for how much longer. I have a couple of friends who work at a manufacturing company in town that makes cooling systems for the trucks built here. And they are on pins and needles wondering if or when they get the call to not go back to work because there are no trucks being made. That's what drives me up the wall with these strikes. The auto workers still get a minimum amount of pay even while striking, but the massive support staff that builds components, staffs temp workers, runs the logistics, etc, ends up with nothing except the bare hope that the state's crippled unemployment system can help them keep afloat. In a city where shipping (UPS central hub and they almost went on strike on August 1) and heavy manufacturing (GE Appliance Park and the Ford plants) keeps tens of thousands of people employed, plus the support companies, any prolonged shutdown is a total disaster for the city as well. UAW members - you're not getting a 38% raise right away. That just doesn't happen. Start a little lower and end this. And then you can fight the good fight against the corner office staff who make millions for being in meetings all day.
  • Dusterdude The "fire them all" is looking a little less unreasonable the longer the union sticks to the totally ridiculous demands ( or maybe the members should fire theit leadership ! )
  • Thehyundaigarage Yes, Canadian market vehicles have had immobilizers mandated by transport Canada since around 2001.In the US market, some key start Toyotas and Nissans still don’t have immobilizers. The US doesn’t mandate immobilizers or daytime running lights, but they mandate TPMS, yet canada mandates both, but couldn’t care less about TPMS. You’d think we’d have universal standards in North America.
  • Alan I think this vehicle is aimed more at the dedicated offroad traveller. It costs around the same a 300 Series, so its quite an investment. It would be a waste to own as a daily driver, unless you want to be seen in a 'wank' vehicle like many Wrangler and Can Hardly Davidson types.The diesel would be the choice for off roading as its quite torquey down low and would return far superior mileage than a petrol vehicle.I would think this is more reliable than the Land Rovers, BMW make good engines.
  • Lorenzo I'll go with Stellantis. Last into the folly, first to bail out. Their European business won't fly with the German market being squeezed on electricity. Anybody can see the loss of Russian natural gas and closing their nuclear plants means high cost electricity. They're now buying electrons from French nuclear plants, as are the British after shutting down their coal industry. As for the American market, the American grid isn't in great shape either, but the US has shale oil and natural gas. Stellantis has profits from ICE Ram trucks and Jeeps, and they won't give that up.