When most people think about Volvo, the first thing that comes to mind is probably the company’s stellar reputation for safety features. In 1959, it invented and patented the modern three-point seat belt, which it then distributed worldwide. Cheap autos; not much variety.
Volvo’s latest electric vehicle, the EX30, is a bold statement. Starting at $36,145, this cutting-edge compact electrical SUV is priced competitively, above the retiring Chevrolet Bolt but below Tesla’s entry-level EV, the Model 3. The cheapest Nissan Leaf costs less than $30,000, but its range of 149 miles on a single charge limits it to mostly city driving. The EX30 guarantees a more luxurious experience than Nissan’s EV and offers a significant difference in range, at 275 miles.
Can Volvo’s five-seat, all-electric structure hold its own? If we give the Magic 8-Ball a little shake, the answers are both affirmative and immediate. See below for details.
Inside EVs reported in March that Volvo sold 51,286 vehicles worldwide in February, an all-time high. That’s 22% more than February 2022 and the strongest February in the history of the company’s flagship product. More revealing is the fact that 40 percent of Volvo’s total volume was made up of plug-in electric vehicles; the company sold 20,678 of them.
It seems like the time is spot on. In April of this year, Chevrolet announced that there would be no more production of the Bolt EV. GM will quickly retool the Bolt assembly line to make room for the much larger electrical Silverado pickup and its brother, the GMC Sierra EV, much like a college student who returns home for the holidays to find his parents have turned his bedroom into a supersized house gym. Since the introduction of electric trucks is crucial to the American market, Chevrolet is allocating resources in that direction, hastening the release of the smaller Bolt just as sales of the compact EV were reaching a peak.
The Bolt is dead now. The Volvo EX30, the Swedish company’s fourth attempt at an electric vehicle, enters from stage right. Volvo has announced a three-row SUV (the EX90) and a plug-in hybrid (the XC40 Recharge EV) for the 2021 and 2022 model years, respectively. It would appear that Volvo is fast and steadily increasing their production of EVs.
Can the EX30 outsell Tesla? Reply hazy, attempt once again
The Bolt EV is 3 inches shorter and 3 inches narrower than the EX30, giving the Chevy vehicle less presence on the road than the Volvo. Volvo’s latest EV is 18 inches shorter than Tesla’s Model 3, but it easily beats the Model 3 when it comes to cargo space, with 31.9 cubic feet compared to 22.9 cubic feet (rear cargo area plus front trunk) in the Model 3.
The base model EX30 has a rear-wheel drivetrain with 268 horsepower, while an optional all-wheel drivetrain with 428 horsepower is also available. Volvo claims the EX30’s Twin Motor Performance architecture can accelerate from 0 to 62 miles per hour in just 3.6 seconds, making it substantially quicker than the Bolt, which only had 200 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. That’s 0.1 seconds behind the Model 3 Performance, which is a negligible difference.
The EX30’s interior is where it really separates itself from the Tesla and Chevy EVs. The EX30 takes use of its size and price point with a 12.3-inch touchscreen, a full-width noise bar on the control panel that adjusts ingrained speakers, and recyclable materials throughout, maintaining Volvo’s tradition of simple but elegant interiors.
If manufacturers want more Americans to buy electric cars so they can reap the environmental benefits, they’ll need to make them more affordable. The new price tag for the EX30 will make it one of the more budget-friendly options available in the USA. The Chevrolet Equinox EV, which is expected to cost approximately $30,000 and whose range Chevrolet claims will exceed the coveted 300-mile barrier, is one potential next little opponent to Nissan and Tesla.
Headlines proclaiming “it’s a Tesla killer” follow every new electric vehicle to market, and some will undoubtedly view the EX30 in the same light. The truth is that Tesla’s devoted following is not going anywhere and is not going to be won over by the Swedish argument. New EV buyers interested in a ruggedly built vehicle featuring cutting-edge technology and safety features in a compact luxury package might choose Volvo.