Recharge is the fully electric version of Volvo’s XC40 small-medium SUV. Until recently
there was just the one electric model, but now you get to choose from two.
One has a single electric motor, the other comes with two of them — or ‘twin’ motors as
they are known.
Volvo XC40’s exterior styling is chunky, compact and functional. The wheels are
A blanked-out radiator grille signifies this is the fully electric version of the small SUV, in
other words – no cooling required.
Although designed to seat five, the EV seats four comfortably — five at a stretch.
The batteries eat into boot and legroom and with large rear pillars and darkened glass,
there’s not much over the shoulder vision.
Prices start from $72,990 for the single motor, or $79,990 for the twin (plus on-roads).
You can still get petrol and even plug-in hybrid versions, but their days are strictly
numbered. Volvo is planning to be fully electric by 2030 and EVs are expected to account
for 50 per cent of sales by 2025 — just three years from now.
They’re confronting figures, but hardly surprising given demand for EVs is growing faster
than any other section of the market.
Standard equipment includes the Dynamic Chassis, 20-inch alloys, leather upholstery, R-
Design highlights, two-zone climate air, heated steering wheel, heated front and rear
seats, plus power folding rear headrests.
There’s also follow-the-road LED headlights, adaptive cruise control, 360-degree camera,
wireless phone charging, auto lights and wipers, auto dimming internal and external
mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, a panoramic sunroof and hands-free tailgate.
Recharge is covered by a five-year unlimited kilometre warranty, eight-year battery
warranty and comes with eight-year roadside assistance.
Servicing is free for three years or 100,000km, with a service interval of 30,000km or two
years. It covers vehicle safety, air filter and tyre sealant checks and, if needed, one tyre
In addition, annual wiper blade replacement and a brake fluid check is offered free through
Not only is this Volvo’s first electric vehicle, it is also the first vehicle in Australia to come
with a fully integrated Google Android operating system, with Google Assistant, Google
Maps and Google Play Store built in.
A 9.0-inch vertically-mounted touchscreen is centrepiece of the cabin, just the right size
and a breeze to use.
Premium 600-watt Harman Kardon audio is standard and comprises 14 speakers and
unique sound processing software to optimise response.
There’s also digital radio, voice activation, Bluetooth with audio streaming — but no AM
radio or CD player.
Unfortunately, digital reception is limited in and around cities and if you like listening to the
ABC, the lack of AM can pose a problem.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
The XC40 Twin has 150kW electric motors, one at the front axle, the other at the rear axle.
So, it’s driven by all four wheels. Power comes from a 78kWh lithium-ion battery pack.
The Twin, the one we’ve been driving, pumps out 300kW of power and an astonishing
660Nm of torque, and will physically thrust you back in the seat when you punch the
With an impressive 300kW of combined power and 660Nm of torque, it dispatches the
dash from zero to 100 km/h in just 4.9 seconds, making it one of Volvo’s most powerful
Volvo XC40 scored a five-star safety rating, with seven airbags, autonomous emergency
braking, lane support systems and speed assist systems.
There’s also a rear-view camera, an excellent overhead camera, and front and rear park
sensors. There are built-in rear child booster seats, along with blind spot monitoring,
forward collision warning, lane departure warning and lane keep assist.
The first modern EVs were tiny little buzz boxes that were terrible to drive and had next to
no resale value.
Fast forward a few decades and the latest offerings such as the XC40 Recharge Pure
Electric are guaranteed to knock your socks off.
This car adds new meaning to the words keyless start. You’re not even required to push a
start button. Put your foot on the brake, put it into gear and away you go — that’s it.
There’s no Sport mode but none is really needed. Plant it and the XC40 surges forward
with V8-like urgency, minus the sound and emissions of course.
It’s indecently quick, for a car not billed or marketed as a sports model.
Weighing in at almost 2160kg, courtesy of the heavy batteries, it’s no lightweight either
and this is apparent as it jounces over speed humps and the like.
One pedal driving, when activated, brakes the car as soon as you lift off the accelerator,
sending regenerative power back to the battery.
On long, downhill runs it’s amazing, at other times it’s intrusive. It’s a matter of
When fully charged, XC40 Recharge Pure Electric Twin has a claimed range of up to
It’s designed for fast charging from zero to 80 per cent in around 40 minutes, but this
depends on the type of charging available.
A commonly available 50kW DC charger takes about 68 minutes.
A 10A household power point needs an exhausting 40 hours from empty.
Volvo XC40 can be charged via a Type 2 CCS connection rather than CHAdeMO, so be
sure to check ahead. Note that a fast-charging cable is not provided with the car.
Buy the car and you’ll want to invest in a wall charger.
Inside, the decor is straight out of the Scandinavian playbook with aluminium accents and
contrast stitching for the leather accented seats.
The fully digital instrument cluster can be customised and is able to project navigation
between the dials.
Surprised to see no head-up display though.
The Clean Zone system removes harmful pollutants and particles from the cabin to deliver
fresh air to the cabin.
Underfloor battery requirements eat into leg and boot space, with a transmission tunnel
remaining but not required.
The EV has 418 litres of space, 42 litres less than the petrol model, while the ‘frunk’ up
front offers another 31 litres (handy for storing charge cable).
With power consumption rated at 25.5kWh/100km, it’s no fuel miser, but in a rain
challenged week we managed to clock up 365km behind the wheel — at a rate of
Driving steadily on the motorway, this figure dropped back to 19.8kWh over a distance of
The good thing is that it has sufficient range to not need charging every day.
Yes, the XC40 Recharge is expensive, but remember it is an electric car. New technology
has always cost more, but take comfort in the fact that it is a heap of fun to drive and offers
decent range. What’s more, we suspect people would prefer to pay this kind of money for
a Volvo rather than some lesser brand.
If this is the future, bring it on!
RATINGS OUT OF 10:
AT A GLANCE
Volvo XC40 2.0-litre petrol T4 Momentum, $47,490
Volvo XC40 2.0-litre petrol T4 Inscription, $52,990
Volvo XC40 2.0-litre petrol T5 R-Design, $56,990
Volvo XC40 1.5-litre Plug-in hybrid, $66,990
Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric Single Motor, $72,990
Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric Twin Motor, $79,990
These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local
Volvo dealer for drive-away prices.
SPECIFICATIONS (Volvo XC40 Recharge Twin, fully electric, twin motor, all-wheel drive)
Battery capacity: 78 kWh
Maximum Power: 300kW from 4350-13,900 rpm
Maximum Torque: 660Nm at 1 rpm
Fuel Type: Electricity
Plug Type: Type 2 CCS
Charging: Up to 11kW (AC) or 150kW (DC)
Maximum range: 418 km
Consumption (WLTP): 25.5 kWh / 100 km
CO2 Emissions: 0 g/km
Single-speed reduction gear transmission, dual electric motors, all-wheel drive
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4425 mm
Wheelbase: 2702 mm
Width: 1910 mm
Height: 1651 mm
Turning Circle: 11.4 metres
Kerb Mass: 2158 kg
Front: 345 x 30 mm ventilated disc
Rear: 340 x 20 mm ventilated disc
5 years / unlimited kilometres