Volvo's first electric MPV spotted in China - on track for 2023 reveal

Max McDee, 09 July 2023

You know that exciting feeling when you stumble upon something unique and clandestine? Well, that's exactly what we felt when we heard whispers about Volvo's maiden voyage into the electric MPV (multi-purpose vehicle) realm, slated to see the light of day in Q3 this year and hit the market by Q4 2023. Although covered in layers of camouflage, we got our first look at the yet-unnamed electric MPV sitting sheepishly in a Chinese car park.

Volvo's first electric MPV spotted in China - on track for 2023 reveal

There are a lot of similarities to Geely's Zeekr 009 MPV, which is hardly surprising since they both ride on Geely's SEA (Sustainable Experience Platform). This shared platform suggests similar dimensions, placing this future Volvo as potentially the biggest passenger vehicle yet from the Swedish automaker. In terms of styling, Volvo seems to have taken a rather cautious approach with very few differences between its first MPV and the Zeekr 009 - mind you, the camo wrap is not making things easy here.

Distinguishing itself from the Zeekr 009, Volvo's MPV flaunts a front end with signature running lights reminiscent of the Volvo EX90 and EX30. The major twist? Headlight blocks are conspicuously placed in the front bumper rather than hiding behind the running lights. This follows the latest trends across the entire auto industry.

Volvo's first electric MPV spotted in China - on track for 2023 reveal

Peeking inside, this electric MPV seems to have borrowed a page or two from the Zeekr 009's book with a 7-seater layout in a 2-2-3 configuration. In the Zeekr the second row seats sport leg supports, are heated and ventilated, and offer massage functions. It’s very likely that Volvo will borrow much of the interior from Zeekr since it aims its cars toward the luxury spectrum.

However, as Volvo remains tight-lipped about the powertrain, one can only speculate. Considering the Volvo MPS is technically just a dressed-up Zeekr 009, it wouldn't be surprising if Volvo uses the same battery and motor configurations. That means a tantalizing possibility of a 140 kWh Qilin battery pack coupled with the 536 hp (400 kW) dual-motor AWD system. Zeekr 009 deals with the 0 to 100 km/h sprint in 4.5 seconds and we can comfortably expect similar time from Volvo’s first-ever people carrier.

Is this the new Volvo MPV? Is this the new Volvo MPV?

Talking dollars and cents - Volvo, riding on the strength of its brand, is set to command a premium over the Zeekr in China. Given that the Zeekr 009 retails between RMB 499,000 – RMB 588,000 ($69,100 – $81,430), the Volvo MPV might tip the scales around $100,000 in the same market. This begs a question – will the higher-priced Volvo eat into Zeekr's market or vice versa?

With the Zeekr 009 unlikely to reach European shores, the Volvo MPV could have a clear run, turning it into a potential hot seller outside China. But for now, all we can do is eagerly wait for the full reveal and hold onto our skeptical optimism. Volvo's first step into the electric MPV space is as exciting as it gets.


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