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All-new electric Volvo XC40 Recharge on sale late 2020

  • Volvo’s first full EV based on popular XC40
  • Launch version has 408hp, over 245 miles of range
  • Recharge name will be applied to all plug-in models

Save for it’s blanked-off grille and a sprinkling of other exterior detail changes, the Volvo XC40 Recharge looks little different from the Swedish marque’s existing compact SUV.

Don’t be fooled, though – for where the outside hints at a gentle evolution, what’s under the skin is very different: this is Volvo’s first fully electric car.

Volvo XC40 Recharge electric SUV - front view, plugged in, 2019

Right now, there’s nothing else on sale that truly rivals this fully electric Volvo, as competitors are only just in the process of preparing plug-in hybrid (PHEV) versions of their smaller crossovers for market, let alone full-on battery electric vehicle (BEV) variants.

BMW’s X1 PHEV arrives in 2020 as does the plug-in Range Rover Evoque, while official details of similarly equipped versions of the Audi Q3 and Mercedes-Benz GLA are yet to be confirmed. Incidentally, the Recharge name will also be applied to Volvo’s PHEVs as well as its BEVs.

Battery-powered versions of both the DS 3 Crossback and Peugeot 2008 will come to market in early 2020, but both are smaller – and not as upmarket – as the XC40.

This only leaves the forthcoming Tesla Model Y – an SUV version of the already strong-selling Model 3 – to tackle the Swede head-on, but again you’ll be waiting until 2020 to take delivery.

High power and all-wheel drive-only, initially at least

From the compact XC40, via the ‘60’ series family, through to the range-topping S90, V90 and XC90, Volvo has designed underpinnings to be suitable for electrification from the outset. While plug-in hybrid versions of each iteration are already on sale, with the XC40 Recharge Volvo has gone all the way and removed conventional engines and gearboxes altogether.

Volvo XC40 Recharge electric SUV - rear view, silver, 2019

In their place on the only version available at launch, the P8 AWD, are electric motors front and rear, each driving a pair of wheels to deliver all-wheel drive. We expect lower-powered, front-wheel drive versions to follow later.

Combined, the motors produce a lusty 408hp and 660Nm of torque – figures that suggest the XC40 Recharge is no slouch, something confirmed with the provisional claim of 4.9 seconds for the 0-62mph acceleration benchmark. Top speed is electronically governed to 112mph, a feature that will be commonplace across the whole Volvo line-up in 2020.

Volvo XC40 Recharge electric SUV - electric drive platform showing batteries and motors, 2019

Its transmission, like most other EVs, will be a single-speed automatic. Given the instantaneous nature of the pulling power of electric motors, multiple gears to gain speed aren’t required.

Recharging the Recharge

Its battery packs are mounted under the floor to help lower the XC40 Recharge’s centre of gravity. This has two positives: cabin space isn’t compromised and handling should remain balanced, in spite of weight creeping up to as much as 2,250kg on high-spec models.

They have a usable capacity of 75kWh, which – according to the preliminary figures – gives the electric XC40 a range of over 245 miles before you’ll need to plug it in again. That’s very comfortably within the scope of the total journey length most people drive over the course of a week.

Volvo XC40 Recharge electric SUV - rear close up, plugged in to charge, 2019

Charging from flat to full on an 11kW charger will typically take around seven-and-a-half hours, but using one of the 150kW direct current chargers that are springing-up around the UK will slash that dramatically, requiring just 40 minutes for a 0-80% charge.

Even more practical, safety remains a strong point

Because the XC40’s architecture was futureproofed for electrification, the installation of the Recharge’s hardware has not compromised passenger or luggage space whatsoever – in fact, it’s improved! In addition to the conventional bootspace of 413 litres with the rear seats in place, there’s a small 31-litre ‘frunk’ under the bonnet, useful for storing the charging cables when not in use.

Volvo XC40 Recharge electric SUV - new front boot space under bonnet, 2019

As per the outside, there are few changes to the Recharge’s interior over the existing XC40 save for revised electronic instrumentation with electric-specific readouts, and an improved infotainment package using Google’s Android operating system including integrated Google Maps for navigation and Volvo’s On Call over-the-air concierge service.

Volvo’s long-built its reputation on the safety of its cars, something we expect may be improved further still when the XC40 Recharge is crash-tested. Not having an engine and gearbox to manage in a heavy frontal impact will allow crash energy to be dissipated even more carefully away from occupants.

How much will the XC40 Recharge cost?

So far Volvo has been coy about precise figures, but we expect the XC40 Recharge to have a list price in the region of £50,000. That’s a considerable sum for a compact crossover, but remember, this is a high-power version and there will be significant costs from running an electric model over the equivalent petrol or diesel.

Order books for the P8 AWD Recharge are expected to open in spring 2020, with the first customer deliveries reaching British showrooms before the end of that year.

Keep this page bookmarked for further news and early driving impressions of the all-new, fully electric 2020 Volvo XC40 Recharge

Also read:

>> Can’t wait for the electric XC40? Read our expert review of the petrol and diesel models

>> Find out more about Tesla’s Model Y – the crossover version of the highly-rated Model 3

>> What’s Miles per Pound and how does it show switching to electric could save you money?