Volvo’s new small EV tries to optimize space with Scandinavian design

Volvo is continuing to drip-feed more information about its upcoming electric Volvo EX30 small SUV.

Last week the automaker promised the new EV would have the smallest carbon footprint of any previously made Volvo vehicle. Now, Volvo is hyping up the use of Scandinavian design skills to optimize space in the small vehicle.

We don’t actually know how small the EX30 will be. The average length of an SUV is about 170 to 197 inches long, and Carscoops reckons the EX30 will sit between 165 and 170 inches. That means in order to keep the feel of an SUV, Volvo will need to get creative with the car’s interior.

The full EX30 reveal will come June 7, but here’s what we already know about the use of space inside the vehicle.

A theme of centralization

Rendering of Volvo EX30 center console, designed to maximize space. Image Credits: Volvo

Much of the EX30’s interior is designed to draw both the driver’s and the passenger’s attention toward the center of the vehicle. This centralization theme comes together with the car’s “soundbar,” which is basically a collection of speakers that reduces the need for additional wiring and material. The soundbar will be seamlessly integrated under the windshield, covering the entire width of the dashboard. Volvo says the soundbar not only improves audio quality in the cabin, but it also removes the need for speakers in the doors, creating additional storage space for users.

Similarly, the window switches will also be found in the center console, rather than on the doors. The glove compartment is also placed beneath the center screen, rather than on the passenger side of the car.

The EX30’s center console will be built with a sliding system that lets users choose how to use the space, according to Volvo. The bottom compartment of the center console features an open basket that can fit a handbag and a smartphone, and below that is a protected storage area for small items like sunglasses. Underneath what looks like an arm rest, drivers or passengers can slide out a top compartment with two cupholders.

For rear passengers, a little storage box slides out from beneath the center console to provide more storage, in addition to the dedicated pockets in the front seatbacks.

Oh, and if you want to use the little SUV to move some furniture around, Volvo says to check the tailgate for a handy size guide to reference.

Minimalist infotainment

The EX30’s 12.3-inch screen will display key driving information like speed and charge levels. Image Credits: Volvo

In the center of the dashboard will be a 12.3-inch screen that displays all of the relevant information that a driver would need.

“On the single screen, key driving information such as speed and charge levels are positioned prominently at the top, with navigation, media and controls easily visible and accessible below,” said Tom Stovicek, head of UX at Volvo, in a statement. “We also include a contextual bar that gives you the most relevant functions for your needs at any time.”

The idea is to not overwhelm the driver with too much stimuli, instead offering a calm view “which strips away everything apart from the most vital information for extra focus,” according to the company. In addition, by putting everything into a single screen, Volvo hopes to both give the driver a feeling of space and save on materials.

Like Volvo’s C40 Recharge electric crossover, XC40 Recharge electric SUV and XC60 Recharge hybrid, the EX30 will have Google built-in. That means it’ll include hands-free help from Google Assistant, Google Maps and certain apps on Google Play. Volvo says this vehicle will also be its first to have wireless Apple CarPlay functionality.

The infotainment system, powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Cockpit, will also come with 5G “where available,” according to Volvo.