Volvo Cars has committed to sell electric vehicles only by 2030, with full climate neutrality across its entire value chain by 2040. The first fully electric vehicle to be released in Australia is the Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric and it has proven to be very popular here, with the 2022 allocation already sold out and orders now being taken for 2023 delivery.
Volvo Cars are also being open and transparent when it comes to sharing the carbon footprint data for their electric models. This allows consumers to directly compare the CO2 Tonnes Equivalent of a pure electric vehicle and an internal combustion engine (ICE) powered equivalent. This may be boring for some people, but it matters if consumers are to have the full picture of the greenhouse gas impact of their purchase.
Using EU-28 electricity mix the Volvo XC40 Recharge creates 44 CO2 Tonnes Equivalent over its lifetime, assumed to be 200,000km, and this drops to 27 Tonnes if wind energy is the electricity source for charging. The Volvo XC40 (ICE) powered using E5 petrol will create 59 CO2 Tonnes Equivalent over the same lifetime. As the methodology used to calculate these figures varies widely care should be taken when comparing these results with those from other vehicle manufacturers.
The XC40 Recharge is powered by twin electric motors (150kW front and 150kW rear) giving it a total of 300kW of power and 660Nm of torque driven though a single speed transmission. These motors accelerate the XC40 from 0-100km/h in a spritely 4.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 180km/h (limited).
The battery capacity of the XC40 Recharge is 78kWh and the maximum range is 418km (WLTP). To prolong the life of the battery Volvo recommends charging the battery to only 90% for regular use, 100% only when long trips are going to be taken, and not draining the battery below 20%. For my week with the XC40 I drove 305km and used 66kWh, this equates to 21.8kWh/100km. If the battery were charged to 90% this would give a real-world range for me of approximately 323km or if at 100% approximately 359km.
The charging port is located at the rear of the vehicle on the passenger side and while I had the XC40 I only had to charge it only once using the 220V cord provided. To connect you simply plug the cord in and the light next to the plug shines green to indicate charging and to unlock you simply press the button adjacent to charging port. Charging info is displayed on the driver’s digital dash or you can download a Google app and connect your vehicle to see the info on your phone. The home charging cord can be stored under the boot floor or in the frunk at the front of the XC40.
The 220V plug offers a typical charging rate of 7-14km of range per hour and takes between 40 and 72 hours to fully charge a pure electric Volvo, but a stationary wallbox is the fastest way to charge at home. An 11kW 3 phase wallbox typically can offer 50-60km of range per hour and takes about 8 hours to fully charge the XC40 Recharge Pure Electric. A 7.2kW single phase wallbox can offer 30-45km range per hour and takes about 14 hours to fully charge a pure electric Volvo.
Living with the Volvo XC40 Recharge is easy though thanks to the Google-powered infotainment system. Select charging locations on the satellite navigation and the map not only displays nearby fast charging stations, but if they are compatible with the XC40 and if a charger is available. Enter a destination and the computer will tell you the charge remaining when you get there. If using a DC fast charger (50–150kW) Volvo advises the charge time is between 40 minutes to 2 hours depending on the output of the charger. Volvo also recommends the purchase of a Type 2 cable, supplied by third parties, to keep with your vehicle so that public charging infrastructure can be utilised.
Being this is a Volvo; it goes without saying that you will arrive at your destination quite possibly more relaxed than when started out. I think the serenity of driving a Volvo is amplified in the XC40 Recharge, the already quiet cabin and very comfortable drive is not even disturbed by an engine here and even the bong to tell you that your seatbelt is not on is peaceful. Perfect for you to enjoy some music on the premium Harman Kardon sound system.
Enter the XC40 Recharge and the SUV is immediately ready to go, you don’t even have to press a start button just double tap the gear selector into Drive or Reverse and you are away. When you stop and press park, the XC40 turns off automatically and you exit and lock the SUV using the keyless access. I did find this a little annoying nd felt that you should be able set some sort of delay in the system. But if you get out and have left a window open you simply hold down the close button on the key fob and the windows will close automatically and the sunroof if it were to be left open.
The leather front seats are stylish looking and comfortable, with power adjustment for recline, forward/back, front and rear seat cushion height, 4-way lumbar support and front seat extension, with the driver’s seat getting two memory positions, and both front seats are heated. I was less keen on the gloss black centre console as this shows fingermarks, as does the 9-inch vertical touchscreen display. The infotainment system is not compatible with Apple CarPlay, only Android Auto.
You access the Google Assistant via the voice control button is designated with a feminine looking silhouette and this differs from most other manufacturers, who use a masculine looking image. The voice control worked well for me when I made phone calls, but did not work when I was trying to change the radio station.
Storage is plentiful throughout the cabin and some thought has gone into the design of the various cubbies and features. The front door cubby is felt lined and is almost as wide as the door, making it easy to store a drink bottle and a laptop as well. There is a removable garbage bin in the centre console and in front of this there are two cup holders, one slightly higher than the other and a rubber mat lining the space to make it easy to clean up spills. A wireless charging for compatible devices is located in a cubby at the front of the centre console and there is also one 12V outlet and two USB-C ports located here. Like other Volvos there is a parking ticket holder located on the driver’s side of the windscreen.
The rear seats are heated and have ample head and leg room for two adults, with a centre seat that folds down as an arm rest with three cup holders that have grippy sides. There is drink bottle storage adjacent to the rear seat and the door cubby is felt lined to prevent rattles. There are two ISOFIX/three rear tether child seat restraint points, but in reality, only enough room for two car seats. My daughter no longer needs a booster and she complained that the rear window was too high for her to see out of. Rear passengers get two central air vents with manual open/close, and direction control, with two USB-C ports under the vents.
You can open the boot hands-free or use the button under the boot lid, on the key fob or in the cabin. The boot is a good size with some more handy features like the folding boot floor that compartmentalises the boot while also adding some additional hooks. Under the boot floor there is no spare tyre or tyre repair kit in the car that I drove. For additional storage space the rear seats have 40:60 split folding and a ‘peek-a-boo’ door for sliding longer items through the centre of the rear seats.
Another given for a Volvo is the level of safety on offer, both passive and active. Dual frontal, side chest-protecting and side head-protecting (curtain) airbags and a driver knee airbag are standard, contributing the 5-star ANCAP (2018) rating, that applies to the pure electric XC40 as well. The ANCAP Adult Occupant Protection score is 37.19 points out of 38 (97%) and a Child Occupant Protection score of 41.62 points out of 49 (84%).
The XC40’s overall ANCAP score for Safety Assist systems is 74% with standard active safety features including lane keeping aid, adaptive cruise control, plus a blind spot information system (BLIS) that provides active support when changing lanes. You get cross-traffic alert with autobrake, in conjunction with the 360° parking view camera with all-round sensors. The autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and steering support avoids collisions with other vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and large animals with ANCAP tests of the AEB system showing GOOD performance in highway speed scenarios.
Each new Volvo comes with a 5 years unlimited kilometres manufacturer’s warranty. Owners are also eligible for the Volvo Roadside Assistance program for 8 years from the first date of registration, subject to terms and conditions.
The XC40 Recharge Pure Electric represents a solid start to Volvo’s plans for the electrification of its entire model lineup. The Recharge maintains the in-cabin ambience I love about Volvo vehicles and the level of safety that I would expect. The XC40 Recharge is priced from $76,990 excluding dealer delivery and on-road costs. Contact your preferred Volvo dealer for more information on the timing of 2023 deliveries.
|Cabin ambience||Google Assistant not up to task|
|Good acceleration||Vehicle turns off too quickly|
|Transparency regarding CO2 emissions||No Apple CarPlay|
Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.