Ask Nathan: Volvo EM90 Minivan, Killing V8s and Cheap Jeep Series Season 2?

In this week’s Ask Nathan:

  • Is the all-electric Volvo EM90 minivan coming to the United States?
  • It’s the end of the V8!
  • I want more of the Cheap Jeep series!

The first question comes from my wife. Yep, she has discovered that EVs can be kind of fun, and she innocently asked me about the Volvo EM90 minivan.

Q: (Via: Bosswoman – aka “She-who-must-be-obeyed”) 

(Summarized, edited for content and context)

I like the Volvo EX30 you showed me, but it may not have enough space…

Blah, blah, blah, blah… something to do with the environment… blah, blah, immaturity… blah, blah.. dieting… blah…

It would be nice to have something other than the ID Buzz to choose from.

– Wife

p.s. JK

A: Well, my sweet little chickadee – do I have a vehicle for you!

I know you, and many others like the vibe Volvo imparts, but you want something more utilitarian – right? Check out the Volvo EM90 minivan! If there is enough buzz about this vehicle, it may come stateside in a few years. The debut for the Volvo EM90 is November 12th, 2023 – so, right around the corner.

More details will be released then.

The vehicle pictured is not the Volvo EM90, but many of the components of this Geely Zeeker 009 will find their way into the Volvo. Geely and Volvo are part of the same family, so platform sharing happens. The Zeekr 009 has two electric motors making 400 kW which nets a total of 536 horsepower. That’s nearly double the Volkswagen ID Buzz’s output.

This will be the first vehicle to use CATL’s high power density, “Qilin” cell-to-pack battery. This battery packs 140 kWh, and a CLTC range (China light-duty vehicle test cycle) of 822 kilometers. Most insiders are saying that it should have an EPA range of just under 500 miles. With a top speed of 120 mph, the Zeeker 009 should be able to go from 0 to 60 mph in under five seconds.

I sincerely hope the Volvo EM90 Minivan comes to our market, but (if it does) it won’t be cheap. Estimations for the base price range from $60-75K.

Maybe we’ll stick to the ID Buzz for now.

– N

The next batch of questions and comments come from two Stellantis videos we recently produced. One was regarding the death of the Challenger and Charger, the other – the death of the Ram TRX. Most decried the passing of the Hemi V8.

Q: (Via: YouTube) It’s the end of an era, of large, powerful, and affordable performance sedans, and big, powerful coupes, as well. @jphnosbourn4312

  • I have a 2005 Dodge 2500 HEMI 5.7 i am glad i still have it. Excellent very reliable truck. I feel sad and betrayed, I think Stellantis is going to kill off the Dodge name & Chrysler (300) to. They have went out of their way to set up both brands 4 failure!!! @rickreid81
  • Yeahbut. Can they match the RANGE of the ICE cars, and provide great performance? Few of us really will use 700hp, but the EVs can’t handle a long daytrip even if you can find charging stations. @lyfandeth
  • (Edited)People saying the mark ups killed the truck, no that isn’t it. FCA was paying out the a– for not making EPA targeted MPGs. They were buying credits from other companies for a ton of money. If you’re looking for blame, blame the damn government!!@PortersGarage
  • Instead of going after the dealer markup scam – they punish the customer. Brilliant strategy Ram. Any other genius ideas – like a TRX – EV? @arnick12
  • How come Dodge and Ram kill their V8 top cars and trucks while Ford is still building the Mustang and Raptor R? @JuanLobo9080

A: Stellantis needs to work with their PR and production about consumer optics.

All of your points are valid, and it’s hard to accept that most of the Hemi V8s are going away; however, the Ram 5.7 and HD 6.4 Hemi live on, for now. We are pretty sure that the 3.0-liter, twin-turbo I6 “Hurricane” will begin to proliferate the Ram lineup. I believe the 5,7-liter Hemi will be on the chopping block in the next five years.

Some of the comments we received were thoughtful and added useful information based on research. Others were folks venting, showing their distain for killing something beloved. All of which are understandable.

In my mind, it’s not the fact that the production of many of these products is coming to an end, it’s the lack of communication coming from Stellantis. Consumers want answers. I mean, we (journalists) have communicated the party line that Stellantis is moving to electrification, and showed off some concepts, but little more.

RIP Hemi…

Stellantis’ moves seem aggressive, especially killing off vehicles that appear to sell well, and are popular among fans. We knew that the Hellcat powerplant was a huge issue for Stellantis. Millions upon millions of dollars had to be paid out to the EPA for poor fuel mileage (among other things). To adhere to upcoming government mandates, killing the Hellcat, and all of its derivates – well, it simply makes sense.

As for killing off the Charger, Challenger and Chrysler 300, despite an uptick in sales: they’re old.

While I think the Dodge Hornet isn’t the best first example, it does show us where Stellantis is going. Many experts expect the government mandates to mellow a bit, allowing more hybrids and plug-in electric vehicles (PHEVs) to continue production. Toyota is leading the way, but do you who produces the most popular PHEV in the U.S.? Jeep.

The Jeep 4xe PHEV (both Wrangler and Grand Cherokee) point the way forward for many upcoming products from Stellantis. Their fleet is also moving to several electric platforms. There’s no going back, there’s no new Hemi/Hellcat-powered super car, or truck coming in the future. They have no choice.

Hopefully, they find a way to win back some of their disappointed fans with something cool.

– N

The last question comes from a fan of our various adventure/build/buy series. We just finished our recent “Cheap Jeep” series, and it’s done quite well.

Q: (Re: Cheap Jeep series) Greetings to Andre and Tommy and Nathan!!!

I first became a fan of The Fast Lane when I saw your No Payment Needed series! It fun to watch the cheesy jokes and Andre’s acting. But what I like best is that you guys keep most of the budgets real. Sometimes I think you guys seem a bit rushed or that bits of the process is left out. But I know it’s hard to keep everything in. I hope you keep up different series and keep entertaining us! Next time you’re in Las Vegas, let your fans know so we can meet up!

– Brent from Las Vegas, baby!

A: Thank you for your support Brent!

We love doing these series, and have several under our belts. It all started way back in 2014 with our Prague to Pebble series. About a year later, we got ambitious and did our Motor Mountain USA series. It wasn’t until a few years later that we attempted our first series where we competed mano y’ mano.

The only issue with these series (aside from expenses, logistics, insurance, storage and maintenance) is getting the crew together long enough to film it. Not only does each episode need the hosts, and a videographer – we need the episodes edited too. All of us have to adhere to a schedule that takes us all over the planet for automotive press events. It makes the whole process challenging.

Still, we’re working on an all-new series this very moment. Stay tuned!

– N