Volvo EX90 exterior teased further, goes heavy on glass and aero


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How about six more teasers of the battery-electric, seven-seat Volvo EX90 SUV? We've heard about the new interior materials, seen renderings of the minimalist instrument panel and read about a massive commitment to safety inside and outside the SUV. Now we have scraps about what it took to put everything together within the aesthetic Volvo sought and a mission statement of "confident, sophisticated, and seamless." The rounder grille-less front fascia flows over the hood to a greenhouse heavy on flush glass. A large, tinted panoramic glass roof lets in just enough light without superheating the cabin and without robbing headroom. The side glazing is flush with the pillars and nearly flush with the sides of the car to improve aerodynamic efficiency. Flush door handles emerge as the keyholder approaches. Volvo says the EX90 posts a drag coefficient of 0.29, a figure that compares to 0.26 for the Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV and 0.24 for the Tesla Model X that, admittedly, offers tiny optional third-row seats.

Speaking with Motor Trend, lead Volvo exterior designer T. Jon Mayer said the other side of letting lots of light in the cabin is creating an inviting atmosphere when there's lots of dark in the cabin. "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," he said, making an analogy with the Swedish climate and Swedish people.

The Lidar sensor plays its part in a new level of safety and in aerodynamics. Placed at the leading edge of the roof, the Luminar sensor sits under a teardrop-shaped glass enclosure about 18 inches wide, under two inches tall. The laser system comes standard, helping provide 360-degree awareness so that the EX90 can always pay attention and take appropriate safe actions at those times when the driver isn't paying attention. Volvo says that tying exterior sensor safety logic to in-cabin cameras that can tell if a driver is focused on the task "can reduce the risk of death or serious injury by up to 20%."

We've just seven days to go until Volvo mandarins gather in Stockholm to reveal the car to launch the automaker's next phase.

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