2021 Volvo XC40
- $48,000 (after federal incentives)
- Late 2020
What to expect
- Adds the Recharge model to the XC40 lineup, Volvo's first all-electric SUV
- XC40 Recharge offers 240-plus miles of range and 408 hp for 0-60 mph in less than 5 seconds
- First year of charging will be free
- Part of the first XC40 generation introduced for 2019
What is it?
The 2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge is the company's first all-electric vehicle, and it introduces the Recharge moniker, which will be worn by all full or partial electric Volvo vehicles going forward. The standard XC40 with its internal combustion engine is already one of our favorite subcompact luxury SUVs, and expectations are high for this tailpipe-free variant.
The XC40 Recharge has a 78-kWh battery array that will power two electric motors. Those motors are placed between the front and rear axles to provide all-wheel drive. Total system output is rated at 408 horsepower and 486 lb-ft of torque, which Volvo claims is good for a 0-60 mph time of less than 5 seconds.
More importantly, Volvo estimates the XC40 Recharge's range at 400 kilometers, based on the Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure. We can expect range somewhere between 220 and 240 miles in the U.S. The XC40 Recharge is capable of DC fast charging, and Volvo tells us the vehicle will be able to charge from a depleted battery up to 80% in as little as 40 minutes. As a bonus, Volvo will offer a refund for electric charging after the first year of ownership (details and restrictions to come).
In terms of appearance, the Recharge is nearly identical to any other XC40 except for the solid main grille up front. The same holds true on the inside, as Volvo is quick to point out that the battery placement has no effect on interior space. In fact, you actually gain some cargo space under the hood.
One other notable difference from the gas-powered vehicle is the Recharge's tech interface. The infotainment system will be powered by an Android-based system (the phones/tablets, not a robot, silly). That partnership with Google will allow for automatic over-the-air updates, which should ensure the vehicle will remain up-to-date and be able to add new features in the process.
Why does it matter?
Climate change is one of the greatest existential threats to humanity, and Volvo is setting some ambitious goals to reach increased sustainability. The carmaker is aiming to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 40% across its lineup by 2025, and the Recharge line is the latest step in that direction. That figure is made up of a 50% reduction in tailpipe emissions and 25% less in the supply chain as well as in overall manufacturing and operations.
Volvo intends to make sustainability a priority in the same manner it revolutionized safety in decades past.
What does it compete with?
Volvo aims to bring the XC40 Recharge to market for under $48,000 (after federal incentives). Electric vehicle choices are still rather slim, and prices vary greatly. On the more accessible side, the top-trimmed Hyundai Kona Electric and Chevrolet Bolt might be cross-shopped with the XC40 Recharge. For more luxury-leaning shoppers with generous budgets, the Jaguar I-Pace and Audi e-tron may also be alternatives.
But this pricing puts the XC40 Recharge in pretty direct competition with well-optioned versions of the Tesla Model 3. Given the XC40's stylish design and popular SUV body style, it might make a compelling alternative for some shoppers.
The 2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge has serious potential to be one of the better all-electric vehicles on the horizon. The gasoline-powered XC40 is already tied for first place in the subcompact luxury crossover class, benefitting from a premium interior, sleek design and Volvo's commitment to safety. With the prospect of a huge increase in power, consider us eager to drive it for ourselves.