Volvo XC40 Recharge
By Bill McCarthy
Volvo has gone the Full Monty with electric with their small XC40 leading the charge, if you pardon the pun. The firm has confirmed it will be an electric-only car manufacturer by 2030 and will roll out several additional electric models in the coming years.
The stylish Recharge is their first 100 per cent electric SUV, offering the usual Volvo refinement, and depending on the model, a claimed range of 261 miles.
They are not cheap, this range starts at £45,750, but Volvo is a premium brand and you do get plenty for your money.
It is a stylish SUV looking very much like non-electric versions, with smart light clusters to front and rear and a choice of striking alloy wheels. It has a sleeker look and the front lights feature the now familiar ‘Thor’s Hammer’ design. It also features a discrete rear spoiler.
Like other electric vehicles, the grille has been blanked out, rendering the car less attractive as a result.
The interior is real premium quality and dominated by the nine-inch tablet style touchscreen and a 12-inch TFT display behind the smart multi-function steering wheel.
The central screen controls major functions and now features Google Maps, navigation, infotainment and smartphone connectivity. There are also a number of apps available.
It has a real high-end feel with leather style micro tech powered seats, soft touch finish and a minimalist approach to buttons and and dials.
All models are well equipped, and standard kit includes two-zone climate control, cruise control, rear parking sensors, electric windows and door mirrors and host of other goodies.
This model adds 20-inch alloys, Sensus Connect with Premium Sound by Harman Kardon with Dolby Pro Logic II Surround Sound, powered boot, power-adjustable and heated front seats, adaptive cruise control, a panoramic sunroof and a 360-degree parking camera.
Like most electric cars, acceleration is instant and the 231bhp on tap from the electric motor powers the car to 60mph in seven seconds. Pretty much hot hatch territory.
A fairly lengthy road trip put the claimed 256 mile range to the test, as well as recharging availability on the UK roads.
Hook up though, and it can be charged from 10 to 80 per cent capacity in around half an hour using a 150kW fast charger, if you can find one, otherwise a full hit using the 11kW onboard charger will take eight hours
Despite being an SUV, it sits fairly low to the ground and feels stable, cornering well and good feedback from the well weighted steering.
In practical terms it has plenty to offer with the rear seats folding and tumbling to provide maximum stowage space of 1,295 litres. There is even 21 litres of extra space at the front beneath the bonnet lid, where the combustion engine would have been.
Safety kit is comprehensive, with City Safety which includes pedestrian, cyclist and large animal detection, and front collision warning with fully automatic emergency braking, including at junctions,.
There is also a host of other technologies, like autonomous emergency braking, pedestrian, animal and cyclist detection and front collision warning are included on this model.
Also standard are full set of airbags and lane mitigation, which steers you back into the correct lane if drifting.
Volvo XC40 Recharge Pro
Mechanical: 231bhp, electric motor driving with 69 kWh battery driving front wheels via automatic gearbox
Max speed: 99mph
0-62mph: 7 seconds
Range : 262 miles
CO2 emissions: 0g/km
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles