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Volvo Electric XC40 Recharge Front

Volvo: Electric XC40 Recharge P8 now on sale

The Volvo XC40 Recharge P8 is Volvo’s first battery electric vehicle (BEV) and will arrive in UK showrooms towards the end of this year. Initially only available in ‘R-Design’, more trim grades are expected to follow shortly after.

Its £53,155 OTR price means the Recharge just misses out on the £3,000 Plug-in Car Grant (PiCG), which now excludes cars that cost more than £50,000. First customer deliveries are expected to commence in early 2021.

The all-electric XC40 becomes the second arrival from Volvo’s new sub-brand, called ‘Recharge’, after the recently launched XC40 T5 plug-in hybrid. All fully electric and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) models will be positioned under the ‘Recharge’ name, separating them from conventional petrol and diesel models.

Sitting on Volvo’s Common Modular Architecture (CMA), which underpins all models in the XC40 range, the electric version has two electric motors, one on each axle making it four-wheel drive. It is powered by a 78kWh battery situated beneath the car’s floor. The claimed power output is rated at 402hp, giving a brisk 0-62mph time of 4.9 seconds.

The ‘P’ in the P8 designation refers to ‘Pure electric’ and the ‘8’ denotes a battery size of between 70 and 80kWh.

Volvo claims the XC40 Recharge is capable of 249 miles on a single charge. Charging from an 11kW wallbox takes just under eight hours. A 150kW rapid charger, usually found at motorway service stations, gives a charge to 80% capacity in around 40 minutes.

Externally, the XC40 Recharge features subtle differences to the design of the petrol and diesel models with a blanked off front grille and ‘Recharge’ logos in the rearmost C-pillar. A new Sage Green metallic paint option is also available, bringing the colour palette up to eight choices alongside unique 19-inch and 20-inch alloy wheels options.

The lack of a conventional engine means Volvo has redesigned the XC40 Recharge to make it as safe as the conventional models. At the front, the crash structure has been completely redesigned and strengthened. The underpinnings at the rear have been revised, allowing Volvo to accommodate the electric motor without any loss of boot space. With no engine to package, Volvo has managed to create an additional 30-litre storage area under the bonnet – these days referred to as a ‘frunk’.

The location of the battery pack under the cabin floor helps lower the car’s centre of gravity while improving handling and agility. Volvo’s new Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) safety suite is also featured, operating via a series of sensors located in the front grille.

Much of the interior cabin design of the XC40 Recharge is carried over from the regular XC40. A new Google Android operating system replaces the current infotainment setup and is the first time this system has been used in a Volvo model. It’ll install updates over the air, much like Tesla’s systems, so you’ll always have the latest software and up-to-date maps. The door linings and carpets are made from 97% recycled plastic bottles.

Volvo’s latest version of its Pilot Assist technology will make its debut in the electric XC40. When turned on, the system takes over steering, acceleration and braking, and can be deployed on both motorways and in slow-moving traffic. With the new Google Android OS in place, the system uses Google Maps for speed limit and road layout information. There’s also a new Emergency Stop Assist function that warns the driver if they’re not holding the steering wheel. If several warnings go ignored, the car will slow down to a ‘safe stop’.

Volvo will offer financial incentives to encourage purchases from the Recharge model line-up. The Swedish brand is also tripling production capacity at its Belgian facility in Ghent, for an anticipated increase in demand for its BEV and PHEV models.

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By Wayne Gorrett

Wayne has been covering developments in the UK's automotive sector for over 10 years, providing news, reviews, first-drive impressions and opinion pieces for a number of print and web outlets in the UK and South Africa. A former marketing director, Wayne is based in a rural village near Winchester, Hampshire. You can follow him on Twitter: @WaynesWorldAuto Facebook: WaynesWorldAuto Instagram: WaynesWorldAuto