$35K Volvo electric SUV looks to do huge things from a tiny footprint
Volvo has launched the all-new EX30 small premium electric SUV, and it believes its smallest SUV will be one of its most impactful products of all time. The crossover will offer up to 275 miles (443 km) of range per charge, a 3.4-second 0-60 mph (96.5 km/h), an available Cross Country package for on/off-road adventuring, and the lowest CO2 footprint ever for a Volvo. And all that will come at a starting price that competes with ICE crossovers.
The era of the affordable, practical EV is really starting to take shape. The Tesla Model 3 recently dropped below US$23,000 in California on the back of re-qualifying for the full federal tax credit. Not long before that, Tesla tugged the base price of the Model Y below the average US new vehicle price. The Chevy Bolt isn't long for this world but is still out and about. Volkswagen has teased its own sub-$30K entry-level EV, with plans to go even lower. Things are looking up for those hoping to go electric in the immediate or midterm future.
Volvo has given buyers yet another reason to ponder making the switch to an EV or adding another to their personal fleet. The EX30 premiered in Milan this week to provide the bookend opposite to the EX90 on Volvo's all-new "EX" electric family of vehicles. While the EX90 is Volvo's flagship EV and technological tour de force, the EX30 is its most compact SUV ever, a "small but mighty" member of the EX pack.
If a pair of godly giant's hands smashed the ends of the EX90 into a small crossover, one would expect it to end up looking a lot like the EX30. The newer pint-sized e-SUV does have some distinguishing features of its own, however, including its semi-floating rounded front arches, thickened rear pillar and reworked front fascia. The front and rear lighting signatures are largely the same – digital Thor's hammers up front and C-shaped reds with window-flanking upper bars in back – but the EX90's lower DRLs are lost in the front-end resizing and restyling.
We're not fond of those front arches, which look as though you could grab them and peel them off like loose bark from a tree, but overall the EX30 has a sleek design, particularly for its price range.
Volvo plans to offer two powertrain options, starting with a range-maximizing combination of single-motor RWD and extended-range NMC lithium battery that will offer an estimated 275 miles (443 km) of driving per charge. Those looking for maximum performance can move up to the twin-motor e-drive. The two motors will combine for up to 422 hp, providing the burst for a 3.4-second 0-60-mph (96.5-km/h) sprint – we're old enough to remember when that was supercar territory; now it's entry-level Volvo SUV domain.
While the twin-motor setup will involve giving up some range, that won't necessarily be major inconvenience. Both powertrains will be equipped to charge at speeds up to 153 kW, and a 10 to 80% zap will take less time than a sit-down lunch – about 27 minutes, to be as precise as a manufacturer's preliminary estimate can be.
After initial launch, Volvo will also offer a Cross Country variant with increased ground clearance, skid plates, and unique accents and badging. We'd expect that model to be built around the twin-motor powertrain.
While Volvo won't float the full raft of cutting-edge safety technologies downriver from the EX90, it stresses that the EX30 will indeed be every bit as safe as one expects a Volvo to be. Its safety package will combine high-level structural and restraint engineering with digital features such as a cyclist alert system that warns occupants opening the door of oncoming cyclists, runners and scooter riders.
The latest generation of Park Pilot Assist isn't a safety feature per se, but having the vehicle take care of all types of parking, including parallel, curved, perpendicular and diagonal, is sure to be safer for everyone in and around the car than the average driver attempting the same.
The EX30 will rely on its pure battery power and small efficient packaging to achieve the smallest carbon footprint of any Volvo ever. Volvo's estimate of below 30 tons of carbon emissions over 124,274 miles (200,000 km) also takes into account the use of more eco-friendly materials inside and out and clean, modern production methods.
The EX30 will start at a $34,950 MSRP, and reservations are open now. The refundable $500 deposit earns the prospective buyer a place in line, and Volvo will collaborate on options in (Northern Hemisphere) fall 2023. The finalization of sale will take place in summer 2024, when deliveries are slated to begin.
Volvo expects the EX30 to become one of its bestselling vehicles and a critical step in its move toward having a 100% electric lineup by 2030.