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TESTED: 2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge Electric SUV Beats EPA Range by 32 Miles

TESTED: 2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge Electric SUV Beats EPA Range by 32 Miles

Volvo's first electric SUV also goes farther than its Polestar 2 cousin

  • The 2021 XC40 Recharge, Volvo's first all-electric SUV, covered 240 miles on Edmunds' real-world EV range loop
  • That total puts it in 17th place overall on our EV range leaderboard and 10th among luxury models
  • The XC40 Recharge and the Polestar 2 share a lot of hardware, but the Volvo won by 12 miles in our test despite the Polestar's 25-mile EPA range advantage

The 2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge has an EPA-estimated range of 208 miles on a single charge. That would've been an attractive number maybe five years ago, but as far as luxury EVs go today, it's one of the shortest range estimates on the market.

But we had an inkling that the XC40 Recharge might have more in the tank. When we tested the Polestar 2, which uses much the same hardware but carries an EPA range estimate of 233 miles, we got 228 miles out of a single charge on our standardized EV driving loop.

Naturally, we were interested to see how the XC40 Recharge would stack up. Here's what we found.

Testing the XC40 Recharge in the real world

Edmunds tests every new electric vehicle on the same real-world driving loop to see just how far it can travel from a full charge down to zero miles remaining. If you look at our , you'll see that most EVs have matched or exceeded their EPA range estimates in our testing. When we tested the XC40 Recharge, it was warmer outside than when we drove the Polestar 2, but not by a significant amount (70 degrees for the Volvo versus 67 degrees for the Polestar).

2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge

2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge

After seven hours of driving, we had traveled a total of 240 miles in the 2021 XC40 Recharge, which is 15.4% more than its EPA estimate and 7 miles farther than we traveled in the Polestar 2. That's a respectable result, especially considering we were running with the larger optional 20-inch wheels, which typically have a negative impact on range and efficiency. We should note that the Polestar 2 also had optional 20-inch wheels shod with slightly grippier tires.

Overall, the Volvo's performance puts it in 10th place among luxury EVs we've tested as of this writing, trailing all entrants save for the Audi e-tron Sportback and Polestar 2..

If you're wondering how much the Volvo and Polestar weigh, here are their official factory figures next to what we saw on our scales. In short, the Volvo is slightly heavier, which makes its 12-mile advantage a little more surprising.

2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge P8 w/ 20-inch wheels
Volvo: 4,741 pounds
Edmunds: 4,774 pounds

2021 Polestar 2 Performance w/ 20-inch wheels
Polestar: 4,680 pounds
Edmunds: 4,719 pounds

So how much did those 240 miles cost?

The total range of a vehicle continues to dominate the EV conversation, but energy consumption is an important factor as well. Energy consumption is what determines how much your miles will cost you. The unit of measurement for consumption, the kilowatt-hour, can be thought of as the EV equivalent of a gallon of gasoline. Just like gas, the price of electricity varies depending where you live. For example, you'll pay about 10 cents per kilowatt-hour in Utah as of this writing, whereas in Hawaii it'll run you about 33 cents.

So, what can 2021 XC40 Recharge owners expect to pay at "the pump"? After charging the battery back to full, we calculated an Edmunds consumption rate of 35.4 kWh/100 miles, which is 17.7% more efficient than the EPA estimate of 43 kWh/100 mi. That means that if we lived in Hawaii, our 240-mile trip in the Recharge would have cost us $28.04, while if we lived in Utah, that same charge would cost just $8.50.

2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge

2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge

How does that compare within the EV world? Let's look at the Tesla Model Y Long Range, which is comparably priced but slightly larger than the XC40 Recharge. In our test of a 2021 Model Y Long Range, we measured a consumption rate of 26.2 kWh/100 mi. So that same 240 miles in the Model Y would have cost $6.29 in Utah and $20.75 in Hawaii. You'd save a few bucks with the Model Y, especially where electricity prices are higher, but not really enough to really impact your bottom line.

How about a gasoline-powered rival? Running a 2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG GLA 45 for 240 miles on premium fuel would have set us back $42.68 in Hawaii ($4.09 per gallon) and $40.28 in Utah ($3.86 per gallon) at current prices, assuming we got the GLA 45's EPA-estimated 23 mpg combined. Based on these numbers, if you average 10,000 miles a year, driving a 2021 XC40 Recharge could save you an estimated $610 per year in Hawaii and a whopping $1,324 per year in Utah. And for the record, the XC40 Recharge and GLA 45 are comparably quick when it comes to straight-line acceleration.

For more information on how we test EV range and how each vehicle performed, we invite you to visit our Real World vs. EPA testing page, which includes both our EV range leaderboard and a table with detailed test results. Our EV range leaderboard is embeddable and will automatically update every time we add a new vehicle.

Edmunds says

While the 2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge has one of the shortest ranges among luxury EVs by official EPA range estimates, our real-world testing has shown that it can outperform those targets if driven conservatively (which means not drag-racing AMG GLA 45s). Its 240-mile result still isn't impressive by current standards, but it may be sufficient for many EV shoppers. For our latest comprehensive ratings of all electric vehicles, head over to Edmunds' EV rankings page.