What you don’t know yet about the Volvo EX30 – Observer
Volvo’s new SUV, which is also its latest electric vehicle, promises to be a bestseller for the Swedish brand, because it not only respects the lines and philosophy of the brand, but is also the first battery-powered model to use a specific platform, allowing it to be lighter and more efficient. but Probably one of the EX30’s biggest assets is its low price, which will tend to democratize not only the brand, but also the Nordic manufacturer’s 100% electric models.
Volvo EX30. The small SUV is doubly “smart”.
We’ve already talked extensively about the Volvo EX-30, as you can see above, Details of the possible engines as well as the available battery capacities and the autonomy they guarantee. We also explained how it is the smallest SUV in terms of interior space, acceleration capacity and price, so this time we focused on detailing what is not yet known, taking advantage of the fact that we have at our disposal those responsible for the brand in various parts of the world. Specialties, from chassis to internal linings, including batteries, safety and efficiency.
It’s small because… yeah
The first question we asked our Volvo interviewers concerned the EX30’s dimensions, which we accused of being too small when compared to those of directly competing trams.. The answer we got was basically the same: “We have two other trams on the market, the SUVs are, therefore, the most accessible.
Where the XC40 and C40 used a traditional platform, designed for versions with combustion engines, the new EX30 is the first Volvo model to use a specific platform, with greater potential to explore the advantages of electric technology, It would have been interesting to see how much the EX30 offers tangible gains in ‘fat’ over the XC40 and C40. The answer was 190 kilos Given equal conditions (single-motor versions and 69 kWh battery) the XC40 weighs 2,040 kg, versus 1,850 kg for the EX30.
The Swedish brand’s engineer explained to us that the EX30, which is based on the SEA platform from the Chinese group Geely, owner of the Nordic manufacturer, uses 25% more aluminum, and this is partly where the gains are made. while, The interior design man, in the face of our criticism of legroom for those sitting in the back, defended himself by revealing that customer consultation indicated that for a small SUV (intended for a father, mother and two children), they would prefer to sacrifice the back seat, Where children or young people (who, by the way, are increasingly taller) are likely to sit, preferring the space allocated for family luggage, which offers 318 litres, plus 7 liters of ‘boot’. The fact is that the Renault Mégane E-Tech, slightly shorter in length (4199 metres), manages to have a longer wheelbase (2685 metres) and offers more space in the back and in the luggage compartment (389 litres).
Two batteries: different capacities, same weight
It was already known that the EX30 would be available with two batteries, the Standard Range with 51 kWh total and 49 useful kWh, and the Long Range with 69 kWh total and 64 useful kWh. Again, this allows the EX30 to pull away from the XC40, whose offering starts at 69/67 kWh, then rises to 82/78 kWh in the long-range battery.
But EX30 batteries differ in more than just capacity, the chemistry used is different too. The smaller battery uses a cheaper formulation, a chemistry called LFP, lithium iron phosphate, which guarantees a range of up to 344 kilometers, while the more generous battery guarantees 476 kilometers between recharges, using NMC chemistry, nickel manganese cobalt, the second element being a stabilizer. (Tesla, for example, uses aluminum.) Cobalt is the most expensive battery material, and is also linked to the exploitation of child labor.
However, our Volvo interlocutors emphasized the cost advantage of LFP – which China has adopted because it is cheaper, does not require nickel or cobalt, expensive materials not available in the country – and is also more resistant to spontaneous fires (in the event of a rupture or accident), making Ensures a greater number of charge/discharge cycles, in other words, useful life.
When asked about the weight advantages between LFP and NMC, the engineer curiously emphasized that the advantage lies only in costs. This is because the amount of energy between one package and another is completely different – 49 and 64 kilowatt hours, that is, a difference of 30.6% between one technology and another. But in terms of weight, it is similar for both accumulators, in both cases about 330 kg. He also informed that the battery supplier is VREMT, the battery division of Geely.
Sustainable interiors in linen, frames and denim
Like many other electric cars, Volvo has strived to produce the EX30 with as many sustainable materials as possible, avoiding producing new materials to reduce its carbon footprint. So, inside the new small SUV there are a series of materials made from plants and leftover products that would otherwise go into waste bins if not used.
One of the most interesting examples is flax, a plant that does very well in Europe, including Portugal, and produces not only long fibres, but also flaxseeds that are very rich in Omega 3. Volvo is clearly interested in the properties of the plant. Fibers, which are planted between the growing seasons of other crops to enrich the land and which, once processed, result in fibers used in the manufacture of the dashboard cover and doors, at a certain level of finish, in our opinion the most pleasing to the eye and touch.
Another alternative allows plastic building window frames to be restored to improve thermal insulation. Instead of wasting them, the tires are ground, and then a paste is produced that is used to form the parts that cover the dashboard and interior doors. The third option for sustainable materials concerns denim, specifically with the blue-violet dye called indigo, which is extracted from a plant and is used to give color to the famous pants, shirts and coats. It is the fibers of this plant that the Swedes chose to “dress” the interior of the new SUV. See the different steps to produce these materials in the gallery.
Is it as safe as larger Volvos?
Small cars have a more difficult time staying safe, because in the event of a collision, it is the lighter model that has to absorb the most energy, resulting in deformation. When introduced as the brand’s smallest SUV, it was important to see how safe the EX30 could be as the brand’s models with larger weight and dimensions, proving that it lives up to the brand’s tradition.
One of the technicians responsible for the platform and chassis admitted that achieving the same level of safety was a different challenge, mainly because the presence of the battery, as well as its weight, introduces some changes. But the technician also confirmed that the same battery also enhances rigidity, whether in frontal or side impacts in particular, which on the other hand makes it easier to absorb the energy to be dissipated. So, don’t expect a huge discrepancy between the smallest tram and the medium tram, as the EX30 is heavier than the XC40 and XC60 petrol versions.
Advantages and disadvantages compared to the XC40
Volvo is keen to place the new EX30 below the XC40 and C40 duo, which is in fact the same car, but differs in shape. The former is more massive and spacious, while the latter chooses more coupe-like SUV shapes. The EX30 is 20.7cm longer, but has only an extra 5.2cm between the axles, which confirms that it is the most generous front occupied by the combustion engine, which absorbs much of the upper length.
With a width of 2.7 cm and a height of 9.2 cm – all values that are detrimental to aerodynamics – the XC40 is still 1 cm higher to the ground, with the most noticeable difference being that of the luggage compartment. And we have to add 7 liters of funk to it. As mentioned earlier, the EX30 weighs just 1840kg (1850kg with the long-range battery), 190kg less than the XC40, a model that also has a lower Cx (0.33 versus 0.28).
When does it arrive in Portugal, what versions and how much does it cost?
The new EX30 will arrive in our country at the beginning of January, but only units intended for display at the brand’s stands. Models ordered by customers in the meantime, and according to Volvo Cars Marketing Director, Luis Santos, there are a few hundred pre-orders (the quantity of which he prefers not to specify), their delivery should begin at the end of the first month of 2019. 2024.
This is the EX30, the small Volvo that wants to be big
Pricing for the new electric SUV with pre-orders open has already been announced here, but now we intend to pit it against internal competition. The least expensive version is offered for €37,894, which corresponds to the basic equipment level and a 49 kWh (useful) battery, equipped with a single 272 hp motor and capable of a range of 344 km. For its part, the cheapest XC40 Recharge – with 238bhp and 476km of autonomy – retails for €52,210. The difference seems big and big, but if we look at the equivalent EX30, the extended model with just one engine (43,244 euros) and 476 kilometers between recharges, the difference drops to around nine thousand euros.
The most powerful EX30 model is the Twin Motor Extended Range, with 428 hp, the same useful 64 kWh battery and 450 kilometers of autonomy, and is suggested at a price of 49,579 euros, about 11 thousand euros less expensive than the equivalent XC40 (60,920 euros), which with more power 408 hp and 537 km. If we compare the efficiency of the two-motor versions of both SUVs, the difference is there but less than expectations, with the XC40 achieving a theoretical consumption of 14.5 kWh/100 km, compared to 14.2 in the EX30. If we look at the versions with greater autonomy, with a larger capacity battery and only one motor, the XC40 improves efficiency to 13.6 kWh/100 km, while the EX30 declares 13.4, another advantage, but not very obvious for the first model with a platform Specific to the brand.