Swedish car maker Volvo designs vehicles that reduce emissions to cut global
warming. They are engineered to be as safe as possible, both in avoiding a crash if
possible, and in protecting occupants if a crash is inevitable.

To show we are serious about Volvo’s attitude to safety we bought a Volvo XC40 T4
Inscription several years ago and will probably keep it until my wife and I are no
longer able to drive. Hopefully that’s many years away…

Anyhow, onto the Volvo C40 Recharge. This is a fully electric vehicle not a hybrid
assisted by petrol or diesel engine.

The C40 Recharge’s shape is relatively subtle and it doesn’t shout out that it’s an
electric vehicle. From the front to the B-pillar it’s quite tall in the manner of an SUV,
behind the B-pillar it slopes down in the manner of a coupe – interesting…

It doesn’t have a radiator grille because there’s no need for one, but it has a sort of
grille shape at the front. The “bonnet” is quite high and there’s handy extra storage
space in the frunk (front trunk).

The normal Volvo Hammer of Thor headlights give the electric Volvo a look that’s
instantly recognisable. The doors have neat inserts that not only add to the style, but
also add strength without adding weight.

The charging point is on the left side of rear of the car.

Volvo C40 Recharge is a good-sized car and the interior is quite squared off, again
in the Volvo tradition, to provide good interior space. The front seats are well shaped
and we found they could be adjusted to suit our individual tastes.

The rear seats are better suited to two occupants than three, which is the norm in
most cars. A person sitting behind a tall driver may have to comprise on legroom,
other than that four large people can be transported in comfort. The passenger in the
centre-rear seat will have to sit with a foot either side of the tunnel.

The rear-seat back folds almost flat so there’s good space to carry long items that
need full support. There are two USB-C chargers in the second row.

There are large side pockets, bottle holders in the doors and drink holders in the
centre console. There is a storage bin for smartphones in the lower centre of the
dash area. A smartphone wireless charging pad is fitted.

A premium Harman Kardon audio system was fitted to the dual-motor Recharge we
tested. The sound output was excellent and could be enjoyed all the more due to the
near silent running that’s a feature of electric vehicles.

The single-motor Recharge has a lower spec infotainment system – we guess if you
pay less, you get less. And it does let the sales people guide potential buyers
towards the more expensive model…

The Volvo C40 Recharge we tested has twin electric motors drives through all four
wheels. Its lower powered brother has a single electric motor which powers the front

It’s a Volvo – need we say more? The company virtually invented the current type of
three-point safety belts way back in the late 1950s. I has been at the front of safety,
both in avoiding crashes and minimising injuries to occupants ever since.

The Recharge has a five-star ANCAP rating with 92 per cent for adult occupant
protection, 89 per cent for child occupant protection, 70 per cent for vulnerable road
user protection, and 91 per cent for safety assist systems.

To get ready to drive you don’t have to push a “Start” button. Put it into Drive or
Reverse and it’s ready to go.

Volvo Recharge is enjoyable to drive with a touch of sportiness that means that show
it’s not just there to minimise damage to the emission of greenhouse gases.

It answers instantly to the ‘throttle’ pedal which is one of the things that appeals to
anyone who enjoys driving. Indeed, we have had sceptical friends who believed that
electric cars are only used to minimise emissions. Then we get them to drive an EV
– and they have immediately fallen in love with them.

It’s a relatively heavy car at over two tonnes (batteries are heavy things) but it
doesn’t feel that heavy. The fact that the batteries are low down in the car means
that the centre of mass is lower than in one with a petrol or diesel engine – which
adds to its road holding ability.

The zero to 100 km/h sprint is covered in just 4.7 seconds. That’s partly due to its
instant torque off the line, but also because it doesn’t lose any time making

Any vehicle that does a sub six seconds is regarded as a very fast, this family SUV
does it with almost a second-and-a-half to spare!

Volvo quotes a driving range of up to 500 km as measured by ADR 81/0 from
laboratory testing. Of course, this will vary a lot depending on the area where the
Recharge is being driven and the style of the individual drivers.

We had electricity consumption of 22 kWh per one hundred kilometres during testing
on our route which included suburban, city and country driving. Actual range
averaged at 410 km during our test.

The Volvo C40 Recharge is a brilliant zero-emission machine with a decent driving
range for its type, however its range is a long way short of that of cars with
combustion engines. It has great styling, the famed Volvo safety and it’s enjoyable to

Will we buy one? We would love to – but with prices tags of around $80,000 to
$90,000 including on-road costs it’s well out of our reach.

Looks: 8/10
Performance: 9/10
Safety: 9/10
Thirst : 8/10
Practicality: 8 /10
Comfort: 9/10
Tech: 9/10
Value: 7/10


C40 Recharge Pure five-door coupe: $74,990
C40 Recharge Twin Pure five-door coupe: $82,490
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact
your local Volvo dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Volvo C40 Recharge Twin Pure five-door SUV)

Maximum Power: 170 kW
Maximum Torque: 330 Nm
Fuel Type: NA
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 0 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 0 g/km

Length: 4440 mm
Wheelbase: 2702 mm
Width: 1910 mm
Height: 1651 mm
Turning Circle: 11.4 metres
Kerb Mass: 1923 kg

Front: Ventilated Disc
Rear: Solid Disc

Five years / unlimited kilometres

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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