Volvo has long enjoyed a reputation for building safe, family-friendly vehicles, but it has never offered a people mover.
That will soon change, at least in China.
Car News China reports such a vehicle was teased in a media briefing by Qin Peiji, president of Volvo Cars Greater China Sales Company.
The electric people mover will reportedly be revealed in “semi-concept” form in the third quarter of this year and launch in the Chinese market by year’s end.
The electric people mover will reportedly be based on the Zeekr 009, as both Volvo and Zeekr fall under the Geely umbrella.
The Zeekr 009 rides on Geely’s new Sustainable Experience Architecture, and offers a choice of 116kWh and 140kWh batteries supplied by CATL.
Quoted range figures are 702km and 822km, respectively, albeit both on the generous CLTC test cycle.
Regardless of battery, the 009 produces 400kW of power and 686Nm of torque from its dual-motor all-wheel drive powertrain.
That gives it a claimed 0-100km/h time of just 4.5 seconds – heady performance for a boxy people-mover. It also has a relatively slippery drag coefficient of 0.27.
The company says the smaller battery can be fast-charged from 10 to 80 per cent in 28 minutes.
All models ride on a “high-performance” air suspension set-up, with double wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension.
The 009 measures 5209mm long, 2024mm wide and 1848-1856mm tall on a 3205mm wheelbase, almost identical dimensionally to the new LDV Mifa and its electric Mifa 9 counterpart.
It’s also slightly longer and wider than a Kia Carnival, while it has a properly premium interior with heated and ventilated captain’s chairs for the first two rows, finished in Nappa leather and Ultrasuede upholstery.
Screens include a 10.25-inch unit ahead of the driver, a 15.4-inch touch display, and a 15.6-inch adjustable central ceiling screen. There are also 3.4-inch touchscreens on the sliding doors.
The 009 also offers matrix LED headlights, dual sunroofs, power sliding doors, colour-adjustable ambient lighting, and a 20-speaker Yamaha sound system.
While the Volvo people mover will reportedly use the same platform and drivetrain, and feature the same chassis hardpoints, it will get a unique design.
It’s unclear whether this electric people mover will be offered in other markets. Volvo has developed variants of its existing models that have been exclusive to China – the stretched S60L, for example – but never an exclusive model line.
Luxury people movers are a hot commodity in Asia, particularly in China.
Lexus introduced an even more premium version of the Toyota Alphard there, called the Lexus LM, which features a divider between the front and the rear of the cabin with a 26-inch TV screen and a 14L refrigerator.
Buick’s new GL8 Century people mover, in top Flagship trim, also features a divider but with an even larger 32-inch TV screen.
It also features a 13L refrigerator, 21-speaker Bose Executive Edition sound system and a “starry night” headliner similar to what you can option on a Rolls-Royce.
A people mover offers the maximum number of seats for a vehicle’s footprint. The Volvo EX90 Excellence will sit at the other end of that scale.
Like the Excellence version of the XC90, which was offered in Australia until 2020, it will forego a third row of seating and feature a pair of captain’s chairs in the second row with a console, instead of a bench.
The XC90 Excellence featured heated, ventilated and massaging second-row seats and a bottle chiller, complete with Orrefors crystal flutes.
It won’t be the only small SUV to use the Sustainable Experience Architecture, as this also underpins the Smart #1.