Electric Mini-SUV Starts Under $35k: the Volvo EX30
The upcoming launch of the 2025 Volvo EX30 in the summer of 2024 will actually mark the introduction of two significant all-electric vehicles for the luxury brand: one, the base rear-wheel drive small SUV that promises a starting MSRP of just under US$35,000, becoming the most affordable Volvo in the lineup; and two, the all-wheel drive launch catapult version that promises a 3.4 second 0-60 mph time that will see this subcompact cute-ute become the quickest Volvo ever.
And essentially mark the dawn of a new segment: the electric cute-boot.
Consider this top EX30, officially called the Twin Motor Performance, the spiritual EV successor to spicy subcompact utilities like the Hyundai Kona N or the Mini Countryman JCW. And even though those two start right around the $35k mark of the base EX30, it seems very likely that this range-topping EX30 will come in well above that very mainstream starting price. How much above? That’s still unknown here, but there’s roughly an 8,000 Euro delta between the two overseas.
Volvo officials gave dealers, some media and a few potential buyers of the EX30 an up-close and personal look at a round of preview events in various cities, and it’s not surprising this Chinese-built small lifted hatchback EV has already caused a lot of hype and anticipation amongst plug-in enthusiasts, even well before its market debut next year. Here’s why, and a breakdown and details of the various versions to come.
Base Core Starting MSRP of $34,950
It seems very brave (and risky) for Volvo to announce the eye-popping starting MSRP of $34,950 (or $36,195 after Volvo’s current $1,195 destination fee) a full year before the planned market launch of the EX30. That’s especially true with relatively high inflation globally, and other EVs that had to either back-track from announced early prices (Rivian R1T), or boost them substantially after launch (Ford F-150 Lightning).
Granted, offering a vehicle at $35k is one thing, but there has also been a long-standing pattern of OEMs offering the priciest or at least higher trim versions of EVs at launch, and then bringing to market less well-equipped and less-expensive base models further down the road. So, it may be well after the summer 2024 launch before a $36,195 EX30 is available to take home. Prices for the other trim levels are as follows:
- Core: $34,950 starting MSRP
- Plus: $38,900 starting MSRP ($44,900 for twin motor Performance)
- Ultra: $40,600 starting MSRP ($46,600 for twin motor Performance)
Keeping the EX30’s price down comes down to much more than being made in China – which actually hurts it thanks to a hefty 27.5% tariff on Chinese-made vehicles in the U.S. But the EX30 shares its SEA electric platform with a number of high-volume small vehicles under the Geely umbrella, including the Smart #1 and #3 and the Lynk & Co Zero. And don’t expect a third-row seat stuffed in the back, like the Mercedes-Benz EQB.
There are also new design and engineering practices for Volvo as well. There are no gauges in front of the driver, just a large center screen, with a minimal number of buttons. There are no speakers or power window switches in the door to save on wiring and engineering complexity, said Volvo officials, with all speakers located in a sound bar running across the top of the dash, and window switches moved to the center console – between the front passengers, and by the USB-C connections in the rear.
The rear-wheel drive Single Motor Extended Range model will offer up to 275 miles of range EPA estimated, its 268 hp promising a very respectable 0-60 mph time of 5.1 seconds. Home charging on a Level 2 charger will be possible at 11 kW, which is good but not outstanding for luxury BEVs these days.
Twin Motor Brings Supercar Acceleration
But there will be plenty of high-end features available in the EX30, especially in the top 422-hp Twin Motor Performance version, capable of that seemingly incredible 3.4 second 0–60 mph sprint.
The battery pack in either version sold on this continent will be 69 kWh in total, and 64 usable, using an NMC (Nickel, Manganese and Cobalt) lithium-ion battery. The top DC quick charging speed will be 153 kW, allowing a 10-80 percent charge in “a little over 26.5 minutes,” says the company. Other available high-end features will include over-the-air updates, five different ambient lighting settings, and a power tailgate complete with foot-sweep functionality.
Volvo has confirmed that all its EVs will offer an adapter for its CCS1 port to access the NACS standard at Tesla Supercharger stations in early to mid-2024, before Volvo eventually switches to the more user-friendly NACS connector as standard on its vehicles in 2025, the company announced this summer.
Volvo EX30: Interior Quality and Equipment
A brief run-through inside a well-equipped Breeze trim prototype of the EX30 showed some of the interior materials to be less than the usual Volvo quality, but still very acceptable for this price range. Those outside the Tesla orbit may still gape at the empty expanse of dash in front of the driver, but the large screen in the middle has some impressively grown-up tricks, such as Google built-in that also works with Apple CarPlay, plus a smart bar at the bottom that learns which functions you use the most, and places them most prominently for easy access.
Size-wise, this is a relatively tiny vehicle, smaller than most OEMs even bring to the North American market. It’s roughly eight inches shorter and an inch narrower than the XC40, which Volvo already calls a compact SUV, or roughly three inches longer than a Chevrolet Bolt. There’s definitely less space in the rear seat than in most luxury products, but it also starts at a price roughly $20,000 less than the electric XC40 Recharge.
The seat fabrics and plastic grains may not be the most luxurious on the market, but Volvo says 25 percent of the entire car is made of recycled materials. There’s a small frunk up front, they told us, though we couldn’t open it up (apparently seven liters in size, or 0.03 cubic feet), but the cargo area provides a much more useful 11.3 cubic feet of space.
There is a large vertical screen and matching vertical vents in typical Volvo fashion, with a flat-bottom steering wheel and a fold-out cupholder, which can be moved back into the middle console for easier access to the storage tray below, or dual wireless phone chargers.
Cross Country Version Arrives Soon
By the end of 2024, Volvo expects to make at least one more version of the EX30 available in North America: a more rugged Cross Country variant, complete with extra ground clearance, skid plates all around, and unique black panels on the front and rear.
Pre-orders for the Cross Country are not open yet, but they are for the regular EX30, with a refundable $500 deposit to your local Volvo dealer. It will likely not be eligible for the $7,500 federal tax rebate if you buy it due to its place of production and battery supply, but Volvo officials say it will also be available for lease, which may make it available to buyers that way.
Barring any changes to the EV tax rebate rules, which have been fluid over the past few years, to say the least.
In the end, the Volvo EX30 is very much not a typical offering in this part of the world, and yet its combination of (relatively) low starting price and exotic sports car-baiting acceleration promises to shake up consumer perceptions of both EVs and maybe even Volvos in general as luxury items unobtainable to mainstream buyers.