The Volvo XC40 is the company’s first serious entry into the EV market after first showing off the C30 Electric way back in 2010. While I typically hate the idea of taking a car designed for a combustion engine and converting it to an EV, it actually looks really well done here.
The XC40 Recharge is the EV version of the standard 2.0L Petrol XC40. The reason re-using existing chassis is typically a bad idea is that the EV powertrain is crammed into places in the body that exist already, rather than redesigning the platform to support the battery and electric motors.
Placing the substantial weight of an EV’s battery pack correctly, has a dramatic impact on the handling and safety of a vehicle and in this instance, it looks like Volvo have made the necessary changes.
It’s understandable why companies want to re-use existing R&D investments as much as possible, there’s a serious cost saving to be had if done correctly. Also, the design of the car actually looks pretty modern, so there isn’t an express need to rethink it from the ground up.
EVs have many unique requirements over ICE vehicles, namely more aero efficient wheels, so Volvo have created a new wheel specifically for this vehicle. There’s also the charging port and of course the frunk, which Volvo chose to put a cover on.
Volvo also redesigned the front end, replacing the front-grill with a front end that certainly looks familiar, not too different from the design we saw on Ford’s Mach-E.
When it comes to the technology available, Volvo partnered with Google to provide a connected infotainment system. Powered by Android, the car offers Google Assistant for voice support and Google Maps for navigation (and to find charging locations), along with a collection of car-friendly Store apps.
Volvo is committing to over-the-air software updates and are thankfully leaving the dealer out of it. Updates can be done from the car’s touch screen. The mobile app can’t unlock the car, there’s still a standard key fob for that, but it can turn on your heated seats and steering wheel.
It’s great to see Volvo following trend with market leader Tesla, by using a seat sensor to start your car, simply sit down, select drive and go.
When it comes to the performance, this compact-sized SUV offers pretty impressive figures of 4.9seconds to go from 0-100km/hr. The battery pack is 78kWh which gives you a projected range of more than 400km (WLTP), making it a very compelling prospect for Australia’s large distances.
Fast-charging, up to 150kW is supported via a CCS2 charging port, which could take you from 0-80% in just 40 minutes. Alternatively there’s a 3-phase wall box that would let you charge at home overnight. Charging levels can be set and monitored through the mobile app.
The walkthrough below provides a great look at the CX40 Recharge and does a great job of demonstrating the car’s capabilities and I can’t wait to see it on our roads.
No word on price yet, but we should see these late this year or early 2021.
While 2020 has been a pretty big dumpster fire, it’s great to see the electric vehicle market getting serious entrants from the big named automakers.
Competition will ultimately benefit consumers.