Volvo’s first new XC90 in eight years has surfaced early in patent renderings – but it won’t be called XC90, and it isn’t expected to be available with petrol engines.
The all-electric successor to the current Volvo XC90 – expected to wear the 2023 Volvo Embla badge – has made an early debut in patent images, ahead of its global unveiling due before the end of this year.
Pictured in patents posted to Instagram by Kurdistan Automotive Blog, Volvo’s new large SUV blends elements of last year’s electric Concept Recharge, with the proportions and key design cues of today’s petrol XC90.
The Concept Recharge similarities are evident in the slim headlight design, sharp shoulder line, and lower front bumper design – but the concept’s sloping roof has been stretched upwards to boost headroom in all three rows.
Elements familiar to current XC90 owners include the new car’s overall proportions, and the shape of its side windows.
The one-piece vertical tail-lights signature to the XC90 range since the first generation launched in 2004 have been ditched, in favor of a C-shaped lower sections and vertical LED strips on either side of the rear window.
The patents don’t provide a look inside the Embla’s cabin, however the Concept Recharge (below) previewed a minimalist look with a slim instrument panel mounted to the steering column, and a large Tesla-style center touchscreen.
Volvo recently announced a deal to use Unreal Engine software from Epic Games – developers of the popular Fortnite video game – for the infotainment and instrument cluster software in the Embla, driven by more powerful processors than past Volvo models.
Few details of the new Embla – the name it’s widely tipped to wear, based on trademarks and comments from Volvo’s previous CEO – have been revealed to date.
The new large SUV is expected to ride a new platform known as SPA2 (Scalable Product Architecture), and is slated to offer electric power only.
Previous Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson told Automotive News in February the new electric SUV will be sold alongside the existing XC90, as demand for traditional petrol-powered cars – and plug-in hybrids – remains strong in the US and China, among other regions.
The new 2023 Volvo Embla is slated to be revealed before the end of this year, ahead of an overseas launch sometime next year. Australian showroom arrivals are unlikely to begin before the second half of next year.
The car will be built in Volvo’s factory in Charleston, South Carolina, alongside the current S60 sedan, and the Polestar 3, a twin to the Embla from Volvo’s electric spin-off brand Polestar.
However, it’s unclear if the car will also be built in China, given the Polestar 3 will be built there for Australia, as well as China – and an increasing number of Volvo models in Australia, including the S60, are switching to Chinese production where available.