Volvo has just made three big announcements. The Swedish automaker said this morning that it will be going fully electric by 2030, that its electric vehicles (EVs) will be sold online-only, and then the brand debuted an all-new EV, the C40 Recharge, a crossover-coupe that is the automaker's first model designed solely as an EV.
“The C40 Recharge represents the future of Volvo and shows where we are going,” said Henrik Green, Volvo chief technology officer. “It is fully electric, offered online only with a convenient care package, and will be available for quick delivery. Getting a new Volvo was never this attractive.”
The overall design of the model is still strongly Volvo, clearly related to the XC40 crossover, but above the door line, things begin to change. Pixel technology lights climb the rear roofline much like the brand's wagons of the 1990s. The windshield glass is raked more sharply than the XC40, and that line continues down to the tail with a black contrast roof to make the shape stand out but also to hide the rear roof spoiler. Another spoiler on the hatch stands out much more prominently. While the nose resembles Volvo's other models, it has a more aggressive version of the Thor's hammer accent light. The lights can also have their output updated later if regulations in North America change to allow European-style adjustability and beam patterns.
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It's the driveline that's important here, and Volvo says it will come with two electric motors and a 78 kWh battery, giving it all-wheel drive. Volvo says that allows for 420 km of range (measured by optimistic European testing standards for range) but suggested that range could actually improve over time as the automaker refines the software and sends over-the-air updates. Power figures weren't given, but a zero-to-100-km/h time of 4.9 seconds suggests plenty of punch from the motors. Executives skated around questions about future single-motor versions or other battery size options, suggesting that both might become available down the road. 150 kW charging allows for a zero-to-80 per cent charge in 40 minutes, with Volvo saying it didn't add faster charging because higher-capacity chargers aren't commonly found.
The brand is planning a new ordering process for the 2022 Volvo C40 Recharge, and it, like all of Volvo's future EVs, will be sold online only. There will also be fewer variants offered than past Volvos, letting the company deliver the car you want more quickly, in a model more like that of competitor Tesla. The cars will also come with a care package including service, roadside assistance, and insurance and home charging options, all of which have yet to be detailed.
Inside, the 2022 Volvo C40 Recharge uses a new Android-based infotainment system that allows for more configurability as well as the addition of new apps through the Google Play store. Unlimited data included with the vehicle will let drivers use the apps and system as much as they want, while the system will also offer over-the-air updates. Built-in Google allows voice command operation of new functions including adjusting the temperature and having the navigation system better respond to natural language requests.
The rest of the interior is typical Volvo, though it (and all future Volvo EVs) will be completely leather-free. Instead, a new textile is offered, with Volvo calling this part of its drive to improve sustainability and work to make the entire company CO2 neutral by 2040. The automaker, which has already set a target of half its sales to be electrified vehicles by 2025, has now said it plans to drop internal combustion entirely, including plug-in hybrid (PHEV) models, by 2030, moving to produce only pure EVs. Volvo said that "climate change is the ultimate safety test," which speaks to how strongly the company feels about reducing its carbon footprint.
The C40 is available for pre-order on Volvo's site now through the Care by Volvo service, with production expected to start this fall and Canadian delivery in early 2022. Care by Volvo will now include vehicle purchase as well as subscription services.