This Volvo Is Cleared for Takeoff—in China

the interior of a car
This Volvo Should Come with a Flight AttendantVolvo
  • 2024 Volvo EM90 electric minivan is revealed in China, offering a single-motor layout and a promised 459-mile range in the CLTC cycle.

  • The six-seat minivan features a luxurious interior with middle-row reclining chairs with fold-out tables and a ceiling-mounted infotainment screen.

  • The electric minivan, powered by a 116-kWh battery, will be offered in China at first, but its North American prospects look murky as nearly all EV makers, with the exception of VW, continue to be skeptical toward electric minivans.

Quite a few EV luxury sedans promise first-class seating, but Volvo's EM90 electric minivan offers a whole first-class deck of an Airbus A380. The automaker took the wraps off its first minivan just days ago, revealing something we don't see too often in this industry even in a segment aimed at one particular foreign market.


Paired closely with the China-only Zeekr 009, the EM90 wears the brand's trademark Thor's hammer glasses, giving its front fascia a familiar-enough look that we've seen elsewhere in Volvo's lineup. With a 116-kWh battery underneath the floor, it is also Volvo's longest-ranged EV to date, promising a 459-mile range in the Middle Kingdom's exceedingly optimistic CLTC cycle.

A single motor out back good for 268 hp provides the propulsion, though in this class power and launch times perhaps aren't the main event. Curiously enough, its Zeekr 009 sibling easily eclipses the Volvo EM90's performance numbers, serving up 536 hp and 4.5-second launches to 62 mph courtesy of two motors. But that's perhaps overkill in this segment at the expense of range.

the inside of a car
The middle row is the place to be in the EM90, but the minivan is perhaps more luxurious than necessary to hit a pricing sweet spot in North America.Volvo

The speed of the Volvo model's recharge cycle is perhaps the more impressive number than its 0-to-62 launch time of 8.3 seconds, with Volvo promising a jolt from 10% to 80% state of charge in under 30 minutes.

While the minivan's exterior is modern and chiseled, complete with a nod to the 850's tail lights, it's the interior that is designed to impress buyers, in a segment that has been one of the more enduring ones in China's relatively young consumer auto landscape.

And it is the middle row where passengers will be tempted to press a button to call a flight attendant to top off their glass while watching a movie on the 15.6-inch infotainment screen that folds down from the ceiling. Fold-out tables deploy from the armrests of the two captain's chairs in the middle row, while the real captain and first officer in the front row receive a 15.4-inch screen for their own infotainment.

a car parked in a parking lot
The Volvo EM90 is paired closely with the Zeekr 009, which arrived on sale earlier this year in China. But the model’s US prospects remain dim.Volvo

The middle row airline-style seats look comfortable enough in photos, to the point that we'd expect a flight attendant to stroll through the cabin offering extra pillows while checking that the overhead luggage compartments are shut. As a bonus, the Volvo appears to be more generous with headroom than some planes we've flown.

Accommodations in the third row appear only slightly less luxurious, so you could say this liner offers three classes of seats: one for the crew up front and two for two classes of passengers. This analogy is perhaps accurate, as some percentage of these minivans will be chauffeured in China. And just like on a real plane, the passengers in the furthest row will rubberneck at the movie the passengers in first class are watching, as they won't get their own headrest-mounted screens.

At first, the EM90 will be offered only in China, but Volvo isn't closing the door on other markets. This doesn't necessarily mean North America, even though the automaker would have a big slice of the segment's market share if it decided to bring it here. (Just how big that segment's demand would be is a separate question).

Still, automakers won't be ignoring this type of vehicle in the US for much longer, with VW's ID. Buzz on the way here next year to gobble up 100% of this segment's sales, after what seemed like an eternity. If it does well, it could open the door to others to send some luxury minivans our way.

Should Volvo offer the EM90 in North America, or will demand for luxury EVs of this size continue to focus on SUVs and crossovers? Let us know in the comments below.