Volvo’s first-ever fully electric car

Mazda has the MX-30. Volkswagen has the ID.3, and the ID.4 is almost done brewing. Porsche has the Taycan. Mercedes-Benz has the EQC and Audi the e-tron. BMW had the i3 and is now cooking the i4, while Jaguar relies on the I-Pace, so Volvo couldn’t just sit around and watch the competition get ahead. So there it is, the Swedish carmaker’s first-ever electric car, which opens the avenue for a downfall of EVs grouped under the Recharge moniker. Ladies and gents, let’s meet the new Volvo XC40 Recharge.

Drivetrain

  • All-electric AWD
  • 2 e-motors, one on each axle
  • 78-kWh battery pack
  • 400 km (248 mi) on a full charge
  • 408 hp
  • 442, maybe 487 lb-ft of torque
  • 0-60 mph in 4.8 s
  • 310-mile range (500 km)
2020 Volvo XC40 Recharge Drivetrain
- image 867112

Volvo wants to launch a new electric car every year in an attempt to shift its sales to 50 percent EVs and 50 percent hybrids. Meaning, the XC40 Recharge’s powertrain will pretty much be spread across the range, at least initially. What’s more, the Volvo website will also ask prospective buyers whether they want a Volvo Recharge EV or not. In that sense, the XC40 Recharge’s powertrain must make a strong first impression.

From what we can tell from the official photos provided by the carmaker, the Recharge platform has the battery packs located under the floor, a setup that’s widely used throughout the EV-oriented branch of the car industry.

Since Volvo mentions e-AWD capabilities for the XC40 Recharge, each axle gets its own e-motor, a solution, yet again, confirmed by the press pictures. What’s more, all we get from the carmaker is the powertrain’s output, which is rated at 408 horsepower. TechCrunch says the setup also produces 442 pound-feet of torque, which will in turn allow the XC40 Recharge to zap from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 4.8 seconds (0 to 100 kilometers per hour comes in five seconds flat).

Volvo XC40 Recharge specifications
Engine 2 e-motors, one on each axle
Battery 78-kWh
Horsepower 408 HP
Torque 442 LB-FT
0 to 60 mph 4.8 seconds
Range 248 miles
2020 Volvo XC40 Recharge Drivetrain
- image 867111

Similarities with the Polestar 2 EV

We can have a look at the Polestar 2 drivetrain just to get more details on what will power the XC40 Recharge. The first similarity comes in terms of horsepower - the electric system inside the Polestar 2 makes exactly 408 horsepower (300 kilowatts), but the torque reading is off compared to what TechCrunch mentions, at 660 Newton-meters (487 pound-feet of torque).

In the Polestar 2, the setup is powered by a 78-kilowatt-hour battery pack, which brings us to the P8 AWD Recharge badge we mentioned earlier. See, now that Volvo got into making EVs, it had to come up with a naming system for these cars. So, besides the B (48-volt mild hybrids) and T (plug-in hybrids) lettering, the P stands for pure electric, while the “8” marks a battery capacity between 70 and 80 kilowatt-hours. Unsurprisingly, this is the exact capacity of the battery pack inside the Polestar 2.

Automotive News Europe also reports that Volvo will also spawn electric models slated to wear the P6 and even P10 badges, citing Volvo’s Jonas Engstrom.

Range-wise, the XC40 Recharge can cover 400 kilometers (248 miles) on a full charge, and the battery can be recharged to 80 percent in 40 minutes via a fast-charging power outlet.

Exterior

  • Identical proportions and design to the regular XC40
  • Closed front grille
  • Charge socket on the rear quarter panel
  • No exhaust pipes, obviously
  • “Recharge” badges on the C-pillars
  • Glossy front splitter
  • “P8 AWD Recharge” badge on the rear hatch
left right
Just like the Mazda MX-30 is based on the CX-30 crossover, Volvo used the underpinnings of the XC40 for its Recharged-badged EV.

The rationale behind that is quite simple: in order to get the best out of the electric powertrain, Volvo needed the lowest possible curb weight it could offer, so it went for the smallest car in its lineup. What’s more, the wrapping also mattered (a lot), as people are hot for SUVs and crossovers these days, so instead of using a sedan, Volvo logically decided that its first-ever electric car would be an SUV. Now, design-wise, the similarities with the internal combustion engine-powered XC40 are obvious, although the electric nature of the XC40 Recharge comes with its peculiarities.

The most obvious change is the front grille. That is, it’s not a grille in the traditional sense as there’s no need for engine cooling anymore, so it has been covered by a shield painted in the same color as the body. The lower from splitter also gets a more aesthetically-pleasing design through the addition of a glossy black finish and that pretty much sums up the revision Volvo performed in the front of the XC40 Recharge.

left right

Viewed from the side, the XC40 Recharge flaunts the exact same lines and edges as its ICE-powered peer.

There’s only one modification that Volvo brought here and it has to do with the charging outlet, which is positioned in the left-hand side rear quarter panel, just about the wheel, between the rear door’s handle and the taillamp unit.

In the regular XC40, the fuel filler is placed in the same spot, albeit on the right-hand side. That brings us to the rear end, which is flanked by the same sleek LED light clusters with arms that extend from the SUV’s hips towards the roofline. The “Volvo” lettering is kept on the rear hatch for the XC40 Recharge, with the only thing missing being the double exhausts, as they’re not needed anymore. The “XC40” badge is in the same place, yet on the opposite side of the hatch sits the “P8 AWD Recharge” logo. What P8 AWD Recharge stands for is something we’ll explain further down the line in this article, inside the Drivetrain section. The “Recharge” lettering on the C-pillars completes the design package for the all-electric SUV.

left right
Dimensions and space-wise, we don’t expect changes at all, although the positioning of the second e-motor on the rear axle might take a chunk out of the available cargo space in the XC40 Recharge’s trunk.
2020 Volvo XC40 Recharge exterior dimensions
Lenght 4,425 mm
Width 1,863 mm
Height 1,652 mm
Wheelbase 2,702 mm

Interior

  • New front trunk
  • Cabin size coordinates likely to stay the same
  • No transmission tunnel
  • 12.3-in digital instrument cluster
  • Slim vertical A/C vents
  • Apple CarPlay, Android Auto connectivity
  • Rear cargo area might lose some space
2020 Volvo XC40 Recharge Interior
- image 867138
Provided that Volvo leaves things unchanged in the cabin, the XC40 Recharge will share its interior size with the regular XC40, especially since the floor-mounted battery pack will not interfere with the level of comfort offered by the cabin.

In fact, the lack of a transmission tunnel is bound to imprint a flat floor in front of the rear seats, which in turn eases access and allows a third passenger to be seated in the middle in somewhat more comfy conditions.

2020 Volvo XC40 interior dimensions
Front Rear
Headroom 1,030 mm 994 mm
Shoulder room 1,440 mm 1,429 mm
Legroom 1,040 mm 917 mm
Hip room 1,390 mm 1,388 mm
2020 Volvo XC40 Recharge Exterior
- image 867126

On the design front, we can tell you that the cabin isn’t changed from the regular XC40.

What changes, however, is the addition of a front trunk as the ICE (internal combustion engine) is out of the equation.

What could also change is the cargo capacity in the rear trunk as mentioned before, but without any numbers to support that, it’s hard to tell for sure. In the XC40, cargo space is rated at 20.7 cubic feet (or 47.2 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down).

Pricing

2020 Volvo XC40 Recharge Exterior
- image 867128

There’s not much info we can provide regarding the XC40 Recharge’s price tag, since Volvo is tight-lipped on the topic. However, with the regular XC40 starting at $33,700, we expect the all-electric recharge to demand at least $43,000 to $45,000. Sure, that’s pure speculation so the best play here is to wait for Volvo to publish official pricing info for its first-ever electric vehicle.

Competition

Tesla Model Y

2020 Tesla Model Y
- image 830418

Just like the XC40 Recharge, the Tesla Model Y will use two independent e-motors, each tasked with spinning the wheels on one axle for AWD abilities, but only on some models. The Long Range version will be able to cover 300 miles on a single charge, while the Performance model is set to offer 0 to 60 miles per hour sprints in 3.5 seconds. The Model Y Long Range will start at $47,000, while the Performance will require at least $60,000. The bad news is that deliveries are expected no early than the fall of 2020 (and we know how Tesla likes to push deadlines further than initially announced) so this could actually work in the advantage of Volvo, as some of the prospective customers won’t like the idea of waiting around 12 months to drive their new EV. There will also be Model Y Standard Range, priced at $39,000 and capable of running for 230 miles on a single charge.

Read our full review on the 2020 Tesla Model Y

Jaguar I-Pace

2019 Jaguar I-Pace Exterior
- image 771352

The Jaguar I-Pace starts at $69,500 and is also offered with AWD thanks to two e-motors powered by a 90-kilowatts-hour battery pack. The I-Pace can sprint from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 4.5 seconds and reach a Vmax of 124 miles per hour. According to Jaguar, the I-Pace can cover 234 miles on a single full charge. On the power front, the two electric motors produce 394 horsepower and 512 pound-feet of torque delivered instantly to the wheels. It’s also worth noting that regardless of what trim level one might choose, this is the sole e-motor/battery pack due available for the I-Pace at the time of writing.

Read our full review on the 2020 Jaguar I-Pace

Final Thoughts

2020 Volvo XC40 Recharge Exterior
- image 867119

Just like regular ICE-powered SUVs began spreading like wildfire a decade ago, their all-electric peers are popping up like mushrooms as we write this and that’s a behavior set to accelerate in the near future. With the experience it got from the Polestar 2 project, Volvo was able to keep up the pace with its rivals and launch the XC40 Recharge. On paper, the package looks attractive enough: it’s not only the crossover-y shape that appeals to the modern customer, but also the range offered by the battery pack (280 miles on a full charge) and the fact that Volvo’s interiors have been getting a lot of acclaim in recent years. However, in the absence of an official price tag, it’s rather hard to even begin to predict how would the XC40 Recharge perform against its competitors. Expect a market launch to happen in early 2020.

  • Leave it
    • Limited Volvo-provided charging infrastructure
    • The price tag could be spicy, but we’ll have to wait to find out
Tudor Rus
Assistant Content Manager
Tudor’s first encounter with cars took place when he was only a child. Back then, his father brought home a Trabant 601 Kombi and a few years later, a Wartburg 353. At that time, he was too young to know how they worked and way too young to drive them, but he could see one thing – each of them had a different ethos and their own unique personality. As time went on, he started seeing that in other cars as well, and his love for the automobile was born.  Read More
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