Volvo Unveils the XC40 Recharge, its First Fully-Electric SUV

Volvo Unveils the XC40 Recharge, its First Fully-Electric SUV

Author: Eric Walz   

Competition is heating up in the electric vehicle space. Swedish automaker Volvo unveiled its first ever electric SUV today, becoming the latest automaker to unveil a fully-electric model. The vehicle is called the XC40 Recharge and is the first model in Volvo's new electric Recharge model lineup that will compete with luxury electric models from Tesla, Volkswagen and others.

The XC40 Recharge, based on Volvov's XC40 compact SUV. In addition to being Volvo's first electric vehicle, it is also the first production vehicle to come with Google's Android Auto built in, so drivers can use their favorite Google apps such as Maps, Assistant and Play without having to sync a smartphone. 

The XC40 Recharge is the first vehicle in the automaker's Recharge nameplate. Over the next five years, Volvo plans to launch a new electric model every year and eventually plans to for EVs to make up half of its global sales. The other half will be plug-in hybrid models, reflecting Volvo's plans to completely phase out internal combustion engine models.

"Recharge" will also be the nameplate for all future Volvo models equipped with a fully electric or plug-in hybrid powertrain. In the future, every Volvo model in Volvo's vehicle lineup will include a Recharge option, including the company's flagship XC90 SUV. 

Volvo claims its the only major automaker to offer a plug-in variant of every model in its lineup.

To promote the new model, starting early next year Volvo customers visiting the automaker's website will first be asked whether they want a Volvo Recharge car. To further encourage drivers to switch to electric models, every Volvo Recharge plug-in hybrid model will come with free EV charging for a year, provided through a refund for the average electricity cost during that period.

"We have said this several times before: for Volvo Cars, the future is electric," said Håkan Samuelsson, chief executive. "Today we take a major new step in that direction with the launch of our fully electric XC40 and the Recharge car line."

The XC40 Recharge is built on the company's new Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) platform, which was designed by Volvo and its parent company Geely to accommodate smaller models in Volvo's lineup. The CMA will be the foundation for smaller Volvo models while its larger Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform will be used for the larger XC90, S90, V90 and V90 Volvo models.

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Volvo's Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) platform will underpin its future electric models.

The XC40 Recharge includes a state-of-the-art, fully electric all-wheel drive powertrain with a 78 kWh battery pack that offers a range of 248 miles (400 km WLTP) on a single charge and output of 408 horsepower. The XC40 Recharge can go from 0 to 60 mph is 4.7 seconds. 

The battery pack charges to 80% in just in 40 mins at a DC fast-charging station. The batteries will be supplied by both LG and China's CATL that's to ensure enough to meet demand, according to the automaker.

The Android-powered infotainment system is fully integrated with Volvo On Call, the company's digital connected services platform. For drivers of hybrid Volvo models, Volvo's On Call platform will track how much time they spend driving on electric power alone.

Like Tesla models, the XC40 Recharge is capable of receiving over-the-air updates, so the vehicle's systems always stay up to date.

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Volvo plans will triple production capacity for electrified cars and will as of next year prepare a Designer's Choice selection of popular Recharge models, offering the potential for significantly reduced delivery times, so customer can buy the vehicle they want without waiting months for delivery, as was the case with the Tesla Model 3.

Volvo Cars aims for plug-in hybrid cars to make up 20% of its sales in 2020, which is an ambitious goal, considering that electric vehicles make up a small percentage of EV sales today. China remains the world's largest electric car market, followed by Europe and the U.S. Norway is the global leader in terms of electric car market share.

The XC40 Recharge will go on sale in the second half of 2020 with a price tag of under $50,000.

To coincide with the debut of the XC40 Recharge, Volvo announced an ambitious new action plan to become a climate-neutral company by 2040. Under the plan, Volvo is implementing a set of measures to reduce the company's lifecycle CO2 footprint per car by 40% between 2018 and 2025. The company also aims for its global manufacturing network to be fully climate neutral.

Eric Walz
Eric Walz
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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