2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge electric crossover debuts: 200 miles, all-wheel drive, constantly updated

October 17, 2019

Volvo's first all-electric car made its official debut Wednesday and carries with it the automaker's ambitious plan to pollute less from the vehicles it produces and to reduce emissions from the factories that make the cars.

The 2021 Volvo XC40 will go on sale later in 2020 and cost more than $55,000, before applicable federal, state, and local incentives. The small crossover, which is based on the XC40 already on sale, will have more than 200 miles of range according to the EPA test cycle, according to Volvo. But the automaker stopped short of promising a specific range from the 78-kwh battery pack stored underneath the XC40 Recharge's floor. Instead, Volvo said it would travel 400 km (about 248 miles) on the more optimistic European standard. 

Powering the XC40 Recharge will be a pair of electric motors, one at each axle, that produce 201 horsepower each. The XC40 Recharge's 402-hp rating will scoot it from 0 to 60 mph in less than 5 seconds, and its top speed will be limited to 112 mph. Almost as important as its top speed is the speed that the XC40 Recharge will replenish its battery. Volvo didn't specify Level 2 charging speeds, which are more typical at home, but said on a 150-kw fast-charger the XC40 Recharge would replenish its battery from zero to 80 percent in about 40 minutes. Volvo said it would include one year of complimentary charging for all its electrified vehicles—which extends to plug-in hybrids already on sale—as part of the purchase price.

Teaser for electric Volvo XC40 debuting on October 16, 2019

Teaser for electric Volvo XC40 debuting on October 16, 2019

The 2021 XC40 Recharge also will mark the debut of Volvo's newest infotainment system, which is based on Android infrastructure—a first for the automaker. (Volvo-subsidiary Polestar also said they'd use Android as the basis for their infotainment system.) Google voice recognition, apps, and other features will make their way into the new XC40 Recharge, although Google said it would still support Apple CarPlay smartphone compatibility.

Included in that new connectivity, Volvo said the XC40 Recharge would constantly update itself via over-the-air updates.

"The best XC40 won't be the one you drive on the first day," said Volvo Chief Technology Officer Henrik Green.

The XC40 Recharge will lead the way for Volvo's line of electrified vehicles—plug-in hybrids and battery electric—that will be called Recharge. It's unclear how the automaker will differentiate between the XC40 Recharge, which is a battery electric crossover, and the XC40 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid already on sale in Europe and reportedly coming to the U.S. It's unclear if the plug-in hybrid will be called the XC40 Recharge Twin Engine, or if it will get an alphanumeric designation to separate it from the rest of the range. Volvo said it would unveil one new electric vehicle every year until 2025 and by then, it expects half of its sales to be EVs. Volvo said it aims to reduce its carbon footprint by 40 percent by 2025 and would be carbon-neutral by 2040.

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