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New Volvo EX60: premium electric SUV will take the fight to BMW, Audi and Mercedes

The new Volvo EX60 will replace the XC60 and sit between the all-electric EX40 and EX90 SUVs

Volvo EX60 exclusive image - watermarked

An all-electric Volvo EX60 is coming next year as a zero-emissions-only replacement for the hybrid-powered XC60 Recharge, Auto Express can reveal. It’ll be based on a development of the flagship EX90’s EV architecture, with the possibility of batteries measuring up to 100kWh.

When it arrives, the Volvo EX60 will slot neatly in between the EX40 and EX90 in Volvo’s growing electric-car line-up. That means it’ll rival the likes of the Audi Q6 e-tron, Porsche Macan Electric and Tesla Model Y, as well as new versions of the BMW iX3 and Mercedes EQC.

The EX60 will sit on what Head of New Car Programmes and Strategy, Erik Severinson, calls an “evolution of the Volvo-developed [EV] platform” – specifically, the one used on the seven-seat EX90. Our exclusive image shows how the new car could look.

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Visually, the EX60 is expected to draw several elements from both the compact EX30 and the large EX90. Buyers can expect the same 8-bit-style Thor’s-hammer LED headlights as both of those cars, as well as features like flush door handles, a blanked-off grille and aerodynamic alloy wheels.

Volvo was unable to confirm whether the advanced LiDAR driver-assistance tech on the EX90 would filter down to ‘lesser’ models such as the forthcoming EX60, but Severinson did tell us that the brand is experimenting with “different kinds of [safety] sensors going forward”.

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What will truly set the EX60 apart from other electric Volvos will be its “structural” battery pack. This technology has already been adopted by the likes of Tesla and BYD, and essentially bonds the battery pack with the floor of the car. The result, Severinson told Auto Express, is “improved energy density” and, given the extra structural rigidity, “great driveability”.

The larger EX90 will be offered with a huge 107kWh (usable) battery pack when it arrives towards the tail end of this year, offering a range of 364 miles on a single charge. Given the EX60’s smaller size, we expect to see a slightly smaller, lighter battery fitted to top-spec models. The increased energy density of its structural battery pack could see range figures approaching the 400-mile mark, however.

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The incorporation of this new kind of cell technology is thanks in part to the EX60’s megacasted rear underfloor. Unlike most cars, which have rear undercarriages constructed using a multitude of different parts, the EX60 will instead get a single unit cast out of aluminium.

We visited the factory in Gothenburg, Sweden, which will assemble the megacasted floor of the EX60 – a car that Volvo currently describes as an “as-of-yet unannounced new model”. Essentially following the same manufacturing processes used to build 1:64-scale model cars but greatly enlarged, megacasting is a relatively new concept in the automotive sphere, with Tesla being the only other  mainstream manufacturer currently adopting it, along with several Chinese brands such as Nio, Zeekr and XPeng.

Volvo says the new rear floor weighs “15-20 per cent less” than a traditional stamped equivalent and that it offers “just as good, if not better safety and durability”.

There are other incidental benefits from the process, too, including an increased boot capacity and faster production times. A megacasted floor takes 120 seconds to build, as opposed to a full hour for a multi-piece stamped floor.

Plus, while Volvo’s production process currently uses 20 per cent recycled aluminium, the goal is to increase this figure and fully recycle the megacasted floor at the end of the car’s life.

We expect the new Volvo EX60 to go on sale next year, in line with when the company says its megacasting production will commence. A full unveiling could possibly take place before the end of this year, though, with prices and specs being confirmed further down the line.

Click here for our list of the best electric SUVs...

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Consumer reporter

Tom is Auto Express' Consumer reporter, meaning he spends his time investigating the stories that matter to all motorists - enthusiasts or otherwise. An ex-BBC journalist and Multimedia Journalism graduate, Tom previously wrote for partner sites Carbuyer and DrivingElectric and you may also spot him throwing away his dignity by filming videos for the Auto Express social media channels.

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