Volvo EX30 launch sees Volvo tuning into new EV clientele


Volvo just launched its first entry-level electric car, and the Chinese-owned car maker surprises with a price that sets a benchmark for customers and competitors alike. The Volvo EX30 was highly anticipated and revealed in full (small) size today, with the UK being the first online launch market.

++ This article has been updated. Please continue reading below. ++

As Volvo CEO Jim Rowan confirmed to journalists last December, the Volvo EX30 is on schedule with today’s launch made public on YouTube. In a pre-recorded yet rather funky clip, Rowan repeated variations of how small can make a big difference or how minor changes may have a huge impact.

Still, one of the biggest questions (not answered in the video but in a later press release) was just how small the new Volvo EV would be – both in size and low price, and of course, which specifications the Geely brand would opt for.

Naturally, Volvo is not openly venturing too far into small car territory and instead dubs the EX30 an E-SUV, however compact. Style references were previously made to the Mercedes EQA and DS 3 Crossback E-Tense; besides, the EX30 succeeds the XC40 Recharge as Volvo’s entry model. While the C40 measures 4.44 metres, and the Smart #1, with which the EX30 shares a platform, comes down to 4.27 metres, the Volvo EX30 is even smaller: 4,23 metres in length but 1549 mm high for this SUV feel and 1.83 metres wide (2032 mm with mirrors).

Volvo has opted to base the EX30 on Geely’s SEA platform, as expected. The architecture also underpins the Smart #1 and Zeekr 001. Specifically, Volvo utilises the SEA-E (E for Entry) version. SEA vehicles usually have an output of 200 kW; in the Smart, the 66 kWh battery provides a WLTP range of up to 440 kilometres and can be charged from ten to 80 per cent in just under 30 minutes at a 150 kW fast charger. In an all-wheel-drive version (like the Brabus Smart #1), the electric motor on the rear axle is joined by another unit at the front, raising the system output to over 400 hp.

While the EX30 largely stays within spec, Volvo envisioned three versions of the EX30 by combining two different motor setups and two batteries. Rowan, in the video, reasoned, “One size doesn’t fit all,” while also mentioning two battery chemistries, depending on the use cases.

The first such use case is described as city driving with shorter distances between charges, for which Volvo recommends the single-motor option combined with an LFP battery – a first in a Volvo. The 51 kWh power pack comes from the Chinese supplier CATL and holds 49 kWh (net) for 344 km of range. The single motor provides the typical 200 kW (272 hp) and a maximum torque of 343 Nm.

Secondly, in the Extended Range variant of the single motor set-up, an NMC battery with 69 kWh provides a range of up to 480 km between charges.

The same battery also powers the top of the range, the Twin Motor Performance variant, in which Volvo pairs the NMC battery with a second e-motor. The range of the 64 kWh (net) battery is also 480 km in this case, but the EV’s performance differs. Volvo claims the all-wheel drive is “officially our fastest-accelerating car ever!” with a system output of 315kW (428hp) and acceleration from 0-100 km/h in 3.6 seconds.

In any layout, the Volvo EX30 has a top speed of 180 km/h. As for DC charging, the smaller battery can take 135 kW max while the NMC pack musters 155 kW.

Volvo EX30 as a volume car

As Rowan indicated last December, the Volvo EX30 has a major role in the company’s growth strategy. By 2025, Volvo targets to sell 1.2 million vehicles globally, up from  700,000 in 2021, an increase of 70 per cent in four years. Such volumes, while likely set by the parent company Geely, can, of course, be achieved primarily with cheaper models and those made in China.

Since Volvo’s own plants in Europe are already well utilised and the ‘Sustainable Experience Architecture’ is a Chinese development, the EX30 will roll off the lines in Chengdu, Daqing and Taizhou. Capacities have not been disclosed today but expect them to be substantial. After all, Volvo wants the EX30 to become the brand’s best-selling model within a few years.

Which brings us to the price. With reservations opening in “select markets” today, Volvo had to go public, and the base model will start from €36,590 – which is remarkable for a Volvo car and certainly set to make waves in the current line up. The Performance AWD starts at €48,490; the single engine with the larger battery starts from €41,790, which is more in line with Volvo and the market.

Volvo itself said it based the price on analysis in two unnamed markets, resulting in a lower total cost of ownership than any other fully electric Volvo car and well ahead of much of the competition in the electric, small SUV segment.

Looking at prices, the Model 3 starts from £42,000 or €41,990 since Tesla lowered the prices in Europe this April; the Smart #1 costs £35,595 in the UK or €41,490 in Europe. Also, set this against the Volvo XC40 Recharge starting from £48,355 or £584.83/month as a lease.

“We know that price and cost of ownership are still one of the biggest challenges when people consider switching to an electric car,” said CEO Rowan.

This is a fact many in the industry are aware of, naturally including Volkswagen – the company in March announced the “electric Golf” that is the VW ID.2 will start at less than €25,000 when it launches in 2025. And the carmaker allegedly has plans for an even cheaper EV, currently referred to as the ID.1, which could launch in 2027 for less than €20,000.

Still, Volvo is not Volkswagen and had to find other ways to make the EX30 more affordable and do so sooner, and users may now access the new Volvo EX30 through either “outright” ownership, leasing or subscription.

The latter confirms previous reports when Volvo said it was well aware that several 10,000 euros for a new car were “per se a deterrent”, as the CEO put it. “With the subscription model, it is more possible to appeal to younger customers,” Rowan added today.

As for the monthly instalment, previous estimates ranged from 600 to 700 euros, and Volvo stayed within the bracket. EX30 subscriptions start at €599, said Björn Annwall, chief commercial officer and deputy CEO. He added they “strongly believe this car will be an attractive choice for many customers – not just for our existing customers but also those new to the Volvo brand”.

Again, this was a hope previously laid out. The Geely brand specifically wants to attract first-time buyers, with the entry age expected to drop by ten years. In the video comments online, some said the EX30 would indeed be their first car.

Today, the company also confirmed it was not launching a battery exchange system (or battery rentals) to lower the vehicle price. Since the battery pack plays a significant role in a crash, Volvo – known for its safety values – does not want to take any risks which battery swapping could pose.

Accordingly, the Volvo EX30 boast an impressive range of safety features, which the CEO made much mention of. The following are included as a standard, like emergency braking with pedestrian, cyclist and scooter steering avoidance, an adaptive cruise control system with cornering and overtaking assist, an active lane system and an exit warning system that prevents so-called “dooring” accidents with cyclists approaching from behind. Other systems monitor the driver and can, for example, sound an alarm should they appear distracted or inebriated. The alcohol lock software can shut down the car when detecting alcohol on the driver’s breath since Sweden operates a zero-tolerance policy.

Inside the Volvo EX30

Inside, the Volvo EX30 is reminiscent of the EX90, showing a free-standing touchscreen and offering five seats, however smaller. A steering column lever serves for steering. All four windows can be controlled by just two switches; a “Rear” button switches the control panel to activate the rear windows.

CEO Rowan also more than once mentioned a long speaker by Harman Kardon, “filling the entire car with sound”. This note on ambience is enhanced by changing interior lights and soundscapes inspired by nature, the company informs.

As for design options, Volvo refers to four “rooms” made from a mix of natural and recovered materials, including denim fibres from recycled jeans.

Regarding boot capacity, the EX30 shows its small car character as the cargo space is just 318 litres (with the rear seat back in the upright position) and a maximum of 904 litres. There is also a frunk, however, mostly reserved for the charging cable.

The Volvo EX30 offers 5G as an option and runs on Google or Apple CarPlay. Drivers can also control and monitor the car via the app, with the phone also serving as a car key.

Moreover, Volvo will focus on online sales and designated the United Kingdom as the first market to switch to a fully integrated online/physical, direct-to-consumer model this year.

The Volvo EX30 has also become available for order online in other European countries and selected markets – yet to be listed. In the United States, customers can place pre-orders, while order books will open in other markets at a later stage that will be communicated in due course, so Volvo.

As previously reported, Volvo intends to electrify its entire lineup by 2030.

Update 26 July 2023

Volvo Cars has presented the new battery-electric Volvo EX30 for the North American market at an event in New York City. The 2025 Volvo EX30 electric SUV is now available to reserve in the United States starting at $34,950 MSRP., (Specifications),, (both update)


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