Volvo reveals new $80,000 electric SUV with Luminar lidar

Volvo’s plans to exclusively sell all-electric vehicles by 2030 kicked off Wednesday with the reveal of its EX90 – the first in a new lineup of EVs for the Swedish automaker.

The carmaker is calling the seven-seat SUV its new flagship vehicle, starting at under $80,000. The company said production of the car is expected to begin in the US next year, with production in China to follow.

The EX90 resembles Volvo Cars’ current lineup of vehicles. On a full charge, the car is expected to achieve up to 300 miles of range, according to the company.

The car also marks the introduction of Luminar Technologies’ lidar system as standard equipment in a commercially built vehicle. Many in the automotive industry believe lidar is the next-generation of safety technology and a step closer to more highly-automated or autonomous vehicles.

Lidars, or light detection and ranging systems, can sense surroundings and help cars avoid obstacles. They use light to create high-resolution images that provide a more accurate view of surroundings than cameras or radar alone.

All EX90s will come standard with a lidar sensor and related software from Florida-based Luminar.

Advanced driver-assist and autonomous-vehicle systems can also use lidar to help determine the vehicle’s precise location, by comparing the 3D images created by the sensor to detailed maps. Volvo’s decision to make a lidar system standard equipment in the EX90 will help support future upgrades to the vehicle’s driver-assist software and, eventually, self-driving software.

For Luminar, Volvo’s decision to make the company’s Iris lidar sensor standard on the EX90 is a major win that validates a key part of its longtime strategy – supporting driver-assist technologies that seek to assist a human driver, not replace the driver.

“From the start, Luminar’s strategy has been to get this life saving technology in the hands of as many people as possible – by first focusing on enabling advanced safety and unlocking autonomy for consumers with production vehicle programs,” said Luminar CEO Austin Russell. “A big part of what makes the Volvo EX90 so unique and bold is that it’s democratizing safety by including the lidar as standard on every vehicle.”


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