In a recent video, Volvo has just teased the exterior design of the upcoming all-electric Volvo EX90. Set to debut on November 9, 2022, we can already see the key exterior features of Volvo’s first all-electric car that is built on a dedicated EV platform.
In the 4-minute video, we get a glimpse of several angles and features of the EX90, but let us first address the most prominent feature of them all – the roof-mounted LiDAR.
While aesthetically questionable, Volvo says that the decision to put the Lidar on the roof takes inspiration from nature where animals eyes are usually positioned high up, and not on their knees. It is obvious that in this design decision, form follows function.
LiDAR is a remote sensing system that uses a pulsed laser to precisely measure ranges and it can detect, for example, pedestrians up to 250 metres away. In pursuit of unsupervised autonomous driving, the roof-mounted Lidar which is standard on the Volvo EX90, is one of Volvo’s safety cornerstones. Volvo even sees its LiDAR technology as a 21st-century design icon, very much like its three-point safety seatbelt.
Volvo head of exterior design, T. Jon Mayer said, “It was a design challenge to integrate LiDAR in a way that both looks good and is optimal for its safety applications. It’s the car’s eyes, and while you could have them around the grille area – which would be equivalent to having eyes on your knees – it makes much more sense to have them as high as possible on your head so you can see as much as possible. That is why, together with our engineers, we decided to integrate it in the roofline to maximise its effectiveness.”
LiDAR aside, we also get to see the active vents on the lower grille, the flush door handles, the wheels with aero caps, a rear spoiler, and the Volvo Roundel on the enclosed front panel. All this contributes to a drag coefficient of 0.29 on the Volvo EX90, which Volvo says is very competitive for a large 7-seater SUV. Although futuristic, the EX90 still retains a side view mirror, albeit with a camera right beneath it.
Unfortunately, Volvo has not given any glimpse of the interior in this recent video. Previously we have seen the dashboard and infotainment unit, but have not seen the full interior.
Commenting on the interior design, Mr. Mayer said “We’ve put a lot of effort into the illumination inside the EX90, trying to create a warm interior and a somewhat colder expression for the exterior. It’s also connected to how people in Scandinavia might be perceived. There’s a calm and understated confidence that can read as cold at first – but once you get to know people, you find that they’re really warm. That very same confidence is exactly what we’re trying to convey in the expression of our cars.”