Volvo XC40 Recharge P8: Volvo’s first purely electric car priced from £53,155
Prices and UK specifications for the Volvo XC40 Recharge P8 – the Swedish carmaker’s first electric car – have been revealed. The P8 joins the Recharge T5 plug-in hybrid variant that launched in September 2019, as well as petrol and diesel versions, in the model’s line-up.
The electric XC40 features a 78kWh battery, returning 248 miles of range from a single charge. Volvo says a full top-up from an 11kW, Type 2 home wallbox will take less than eight hours, while a 0-80% charge from a 150kW CCS rapid charger should take around 40 minutes.
With an electric motor on each axle providing four-wheel drive, the XC40 Recharge will produce 402bhp and 660Nm of torque. Acceleration from 0-62mph is expected to take 4.9 seconds.
Prices start at £53,155 for the XC40 Recharge P8 in R-Design spec – the only trim level on offer for now. Following changes to the plug-in car grant announced in the 2020 budget, electric cars costing over £50,000 are no longer eligible for the subsidy, but Volvo may launch a sub-£50k version in time. It’s also likely that the Swedish manufacturer will offer its own incentives to tempt customers.
Standard equipment includes a 12.3-inch driver’s display, a three-pin charging cable, keyless entry and start and a full suite of Google Automotive Services. The latter includes Google Maps navigation with worldwide support, full Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, plus voice recognition that uses Google Assistant. Four years’ data for this is included, too.
Buyers get a choice of eight exterior colour options, including a unique ‘Sage Green’ shade and optional black contrasting roof. The car gets its own design of 19-inch alloys but does without the ‘Sports Chassis’ of other R-Design Volvos.
Inside, a new driver interface displays the battery status and remaining range, and there are sporty design details and carpets made from recycled materials.
Volvo says the car’s layout has allowed it to introduce more storage space in the doors and under the seats, while a fold-out hook for bags and a removable waste bin are also included. With the internal-combustion engine making way for an electric motor, a 30-litre storage compartment – sometimes referred to as a ‘frunk’ – has been introduced under the bonnet.
The Recharge sub-brand is currently being rolled out across Volvo’s plug-in range, encompassing its existing plug-in hybrids and all future electric vehicles. Volvo plans to launch five battery-electric cars in the next five years, and is aiming for 50% of its sales to be accounted for by fully electric vehicles by 2025.
Volvo XC40 Recharge P8 interior
The interior inside the Volvo XC40 Recharge P8 is carried over from the existing line-up, with the exception of a new, Android-based infotainment system. Volvo claims the XC40 will be the first vehicle to feature such technology.
The system uses technology and services developed by Google, with the aim of “reducing driver distraction” and offering “improved levels of intuitiveness”.
Google Assistant provides voice control of the sat nav, temperature control and in-car media, while Google Maps uses real-time traffic data to avoid congestion. Additional apps will be available to download through the Google Play Store.
“We are finally giving you the same experience in your car that you’re used to on your phone, but adapted for safe interaction while driving,” said Henrik Green, Volvo’s chief technology officer.
“And by introducing over-the-air updates for everything from maintenance to completely new features, the car can stay as fresh as your other digital products, always with the latest and greatest features.”
Meanwhile, the company says its new infotainment system will integrate its Volvo On Call platform, which allows drivers to monitor charging sessions remotely, as well as preheat their cars before journeys.
Volvo’s head of safety Malin Ekholm says the electric XC40 will be “one of the safest cars we have ever built. The fundamentals around safety are the same for this car as for any other Volvo. People are inside, and the car needs to be designed to be safe for them.”
To that end, Volvo has completely redesigned the front end of the XC40 to cope with the absence of an internal-combustion engine. Elsewhere, the manufacturer has devised an aluminium cage to protect the car’s battery in the event of a collision. This helps create a crumple zone around the cells, which – as is normal in an electric car – are located under the floor.
Volvo says this has the added benefit of reducing the risk of the vehicle rolling over in an accident. The back of the electric XC40 has been reinforced, too: the company says that the “electric powertrain has been integrated with the body structure” to help direct collision forces away from the cabin and any passengers inside.
New active safety technology is also promised, with the electric XC40 set to be the first Volvo to benefit from the firm’s new Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) package.
It features several radars, cameras and ultrasonic sensors, which Volvo claims will "lay the foundation for the future introduction of autonomous drive technology".