The new EX30 is Volvo’s smallest, fastest and greenest car
This partially e-recycled SUV offers different battery chemistry depending on how you’ll be driving it
This is the new Volvo EX30, and there’s a lot of goodies going into it.
ready? This is Volvo’s smallest electric car yet. It’s the fastest accelerating Volvo ever. However, Volvo insists this car also has the lowest CO2 emissions ever of any Volvo.
This isn’t the new XC40 – the EX30 is a bit smaller than Volvo’s good current SUV which you can buy as a pure petrol car or an all-electric car. And the look is somehow a little smoother than the XC40, as if it’s been hybridized with pebble.
Where you might have once found a grille, there’s just an indentation that mimics Volvo’s diagonal logo. They used the old “paint the roof black” trick to make it look lower and sleeker, but this isn’t an aggressive, menacing SUV. From some angles, it’s actually pretty cute. Anyone else get a vague whiff of the hugely innovative Audi A2?
The EX30 may sell the looks of its body, but Volvo wants to pay tribute to what it’s made of. A quarter of the aluminum is recycled here. 17% of steel is also recycled, and the same percentage of plastic is reused. You can also select rugs made entirely from reclaimed plastic bottles.
Because it’s made from composted garbage, and Volvo is busy trying to reduce the carbon emissions of its entire supply chain and factories, this is supposed to be the greenest Volvo ever.
Nice words, but what are the numbers? Well, according to Volvo, building this car and then driving it 120,000 miles will emit less than 30 tons of carbon dioxide. 18 tons of it is enough to build the car in the first place. The Swedes insist that no other car – even a very economical petrol car – can overcome that footprint from the factory to 200,000 kilometres. This shows – as always – that buying a brand new car has a significant environmental impact long before you even get the keys…
Oddly enough, the greenest Volvo is also the fastest. Welcome to the fastest Volvo ever. The top-of-the-line Twin Motor Performance version has 428 horsepower and will jump from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.4 seconds. Even the base rear-drive version has 272 horsepower and will match a Honda Civic Type R to 60 mph, taking less than 5.5 seconds. So, like most electric cars, this sensible little family car is a lot quicker than it should be.
That’s not because it’s lightweight, by the way – even the lightest weighs over 1,800kg, while a device fully equipped with a large battery weighs in at a dangerously close to two tonnes. But batteries are interesting. Prepare. Stay tuned – this involves some chemistry.
Volvo’s argument here is that you should choose the battery depending on the range you really need. So the entry-level single-motor EX30 gets a 51-kWh nickel-manganese cobalt battery, which is cheaper to manufacture so it keeps the price of the base car down.
If you need more mileage, mid- and top-spec dual-motor cars get a 64kWh lithium-ion battery, ranging from 213 miles to nearly 300 miles. They can all be charged at between 134 and 153 kilowatts, so I’ll get to a 10-80 percent fill in less than half an hour.
The good news is that a sensible approach to battery components means the UK launch price for the EX30 will be less than £34,000, and that’s for the mid-spec Plus version.
The top of the line is the Ultra, which will cost more than £40,000, but the more interesting news is that the entry-spec called Core will come in at around £32,000. Bear in mind that Mercedes wants £52,000 for the EQA, and the cheapest BMW iX1 is £53,000. They have more range, but Volvo wonders if you really need it.
Inside there’s a square steering wheel, shiny button pads and a huge touchscreen. It hasn’t won any awards for originality yet, but there are signs that Volvo is trying to do things differently.
For example, there are no speakers in the doors – they’re all at the top of the dash like a speaker, and even the window switches are grouped in the middle. This makes the door cheaper to manufacture at the factory, and reduces the pieces of rattle, so it is cheaper to make (and buy). Since there’s no gearbox or transmission tunnel to worry about, Volvo has moved the glovebox to the middle as well, so it’s larger and easier for the driver to access.
In the trunk is a size guide to help you decide which size of Ikea furniture will suit you, or whether you should save a little more money and buy a larger XC90. Or the all-electric EX90.
As you’d expect in a Volvo, there’s plenty of safety tech, like a driving assistance system that will overtake you if you tap the indicators, and a sensor that prevents someone from opening the door if a cyclist is about to speed by. . Although surely if Volvo really wanted it to be as safe as houses, it would put some heater and volume buttons inside, rather than another touchscreen out of the way?