Volvo Unveils Compact EX30 All-Electric SUV

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Despite all-electric vehicles being heralded as environmentally sound solutions that would kick down the door to affordable mobility, there haven’t been a lot of good examples hitting the market recently. Most models are aimed at the affluent, resulting in 9,000-pound behemoths with six-figure price tags. General Motors recently released the absolutely ludicrous GMC Hummer EV while the Chevrolet Bolt is being discontinued.

Meanwhile, Volvo has introduced the EX30 — a pint-sized EV that’s to serve as the foundation of its all-electric transformation. But it’s difficult to say whether or not it’s going to deliver on those early promises of electrification.

Becoming the smallest vehicle in Volvo’s fleet means the EX30 utilizes less material overall. The manufacturer has also made it clear that the vehicle utilizes recyclable and renewable components where possible. But the car has also been streamlined in a number of ways that one could argue don’t make for a premium product.

Streamlining assembly so that the EX30 utilizes more stamped body panels is totally forgivable. However, some customers may not appreciate the barren interior. Minimalist design certainly has its place in the automotive realm. But it’s a fine line between offering a clean interior layout and one that’s missing things to save money.

“We know that price and cost of ownership is still one of the biggest challenges when people consider switching to an electric car,” said CEO Jim Rowan. “With the Volvo EX30, we aim to bring premium, fully electric mobility to a much broader audience, helping to advance and speed up the transition to full electrification that our industry and society needs.”

In the case of the EX30, you get a centrally mounted touchpad (12.3 inches) and some controls on the steering wheel. While akin to what’s found inside most modern Tesla vehicles, minimalist cabins certainly aren’t for everyone. Of course, Volvo will tell you that the interior is empty for the sake of sustainability as it tries to convince you that the trend is cutting edge.

It’s basically a smaller, stripped-down version of the Volvo C40 Recharge and looks to be what most manufacturers are hoping to deliver with their bottom-rung EVs.

The 2025 Volvo EX30 is 166.7 inches long, 72.3 inches wide, and 61.1 inches tall. That’s relatively petite, making the Volvo similar in size to a squat Jeep Renegade. But the fact that it uses a battery pack means interior volume shouldn’t be all that bad. Storage seems middling with 14 cubic feet of space behind the back seats (32 cubes they’re folded). But there are supposed to be bins and cubbies just about everywhere.

Riding on the Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA) electric platform that was developed by Chinese-parent Geely, the EX30 can be had with either a single rear motor (268 horsepower and 253 pound-feet of torque) or a dual-motor setup (422 hp and 400 pound-feet) offering all-wheel drive.

In the latter configuration, Volvo said the hatchback can hit 60 mph in just 3.4 seconds. That’s exceptionally good, though we doubt it packs the same punch when rolling on the power from highway speeds.

The standard battery pack is 64.0 kWh and Volvo has suggested it’s capable of yielding 275 miles of range when paired with a single motor. While the dual-motor EX30 is presumed to lose a few miles, it’s really going to come down to how aggressively you drive it and whether the EPA backs up those figures. Either way, the manufacturer said DC fast charging should recoup a 10 to 80 percent state of charge in about 27 minutes.

Volvo has promised a comprehensive safety suite, the latest version of Park Pilot Assist, and plenty of electronic nannies. This includes a driver-attention monitor that basically your author is wholly against due to privacy concerns. But those systems are becoming obligatory in Europe and industry lobbying groups seem interested in adding them.

The base model is already available for pre-order and coming to the United States for an estimated $36,145. That’s about what we’d expect from an EV of this size. But it still seems a little expensive and we don’t know which EV tax credits it’ll be eligible for due to it being produced inside of China. Localized assembly may eventually manifest at Volvo's South Carolina plant. However, the company was not able to confirm anything at this juncture.

Expect the Plus and a top-level Ultimate version of the EX30 to come in a few thousand above the initial Core trim. Volvo has said it also plans on offering a Cross Country variant with more ground clearance, tons of black plastic on the exterior, and an optional set of BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires. But we'll probably need to wait another year on that one.

[Images: Volvo Cars]

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Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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3 of 37 comments
  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Jun 08, 2023

    The interior is obviously a Model 3 clone, but the screen is substantially smaller.

    Incidentally, I suspect Tesla made the Model 3/Y interior so minimalist to save money - not just to be different. When you're trying to become profitable on EVs, every dollar counts.

    I much prefer the normal gauges and buttons on my 19 Ioniq 1, which was a big selling point for me. This arrangement was due to other versions of the Ioniq being a hybrid and a PHEV.

  • VoGhost VoGhost on Jun 09, 2023

    This would be a great graduation present for the daughter.

  • 3-On-The-Tree I don’t think Toyotas going down.
  • ToolGuy Random thoughts (bulleted list because it should work on this page):• Carlos Tavares is a very smart individual.• I get the sense that the western hemisphere portion of Stellantis was even more messed up than he originally believed (I have no data), which is why the plan (old plan, original plan) has taken longer than expected (longer than I expected).• All the OEMs who have taken a serious look at what is happening with EVs in China have had to take a step back and reassess (oversimplification: they were thinking mostly business-as-usual with some tweaks here and there, and now realize they have bigger issues, much bigger, really big).• You (dear TTAC reader) aren't ready to hear this yet, but the EV thing is a tsunami (the thing has already done the thing, just hasn't reached you yet). I hesitate to even tell you, but it is the truth.
  • ToolGuy ¶ I have kicked around doing an engine rebuild at some point (I never have on an automobile); right now my interest level in that is pretty low, say 2/5.¶ It could be interesting to do an engine swap at some point (also haven't done that), call that 2/5 as well.¶ Building a kit car would be interesting but a big commitment, let's say 1/5 realistically.¶ Frame-up restoration, very little interest, 1/5.¶ I have repainted a vehicle (down to bare metal) and that was interesting/engaging (didn't have the right facilities, but made it work, sort of lol).¶ Taking a vehicle which I like where the ICE has given out and converting it to EV sounds engaging and appealing. Would not do it anytime soon, maybe 3 to 5 years out. Current interest level 4/5.¶ Building my own car (from scratch) would have some significant hurdles. Unless I started my own car company, which might involve other hurdles. 😉
  • Rover Sig "Value" is what people perceive as its worth. What is the worth or value of an EV somebody creates out of a used car? People value different things, but for a vehicle, people generally ascribe worth in terms of reliability, maintainability, safety, appearance and style, utility (payload, range, etc.), convenience, operating cost, projected life, support network, etc. "Value for money" means how much worth would people think it had compared to competing vehicles on the market, in other words, would it be a good deal to buy one, compared to other vehicles one could get? Consider what price you would have to ask for it, including the parts and labor you put into it, because that would affect the “for the money” part of the “value for money” calculation. An indicator of whether people think an EV-built-in-a-used-car would provide "value for money" is the current level of demand for used cars turned into EVs. Are there a lot of people looking for these on the market? Or would building one just be a hobby? Repairing an existing EV, bringing it back into spec, might create better value for the money. Although demand for EVs is reportedly down recently.
  • ToolGuy Those of you who aren't listening to the TTAC Podcast, you really don't know what you are missing.