Test: Recharging Volvo XC40 – Bytbil.com 🚗
Designing a car designed to run on electricity from the start opens up new possibilities.
The electric motor is compact and fits into the space under the luggage compartment, and the high-voltage battery can be placed under the seats. The opportunities to utilize space and create interesting designs are great, as fixed parts of the car can be placed where they fit best.
The Volvo It’s been rolling off the assembly line at the Ghent factory in Belgium since 2017, and only little things have changed in those six years.
But there was a fundamental change that I did not expect to happen. The XC40 Recharge Electric has more than just a bigger battery and more horsepower. The electric motor, which is completely new, has been moved from the front axle to the rear axle. Volvo has spent, perhaps quite a lot of money, changing this basic situation.
Changing so much with the XC40 Recharge is a bit of a strange choice by Volvo. They could have waited until it was time for the all-new XC40, so there must be a good explanation as to why Volvo made this change.
Volvo always thinks about safety first and foremost. Nothing should distract the focus from the fact that Volvo must take care of its passengers. The idea of moving the electric motor in the XC40 Recharge should also benefit safety. The instantaneous transfer of power from an electric vehicle can be an issue with front-wheel drive.
The 231bhp front-wheel-drive XC40 Recharge may not have been the most vulnerable car in terms of lack of grip and uncontrolled power, but with 231bhp it could easily cause a lot of wheel spin around corners on a rainy day.
With the new electric motor, weight distribution has become more balanced, and better weight distribution between the two axles provides more stability, which means increased safety. Bonus: The rear-drive XC40 has a large compartment under the front door for cables, washer fluid, and anything else you want to hide.
Do you feel the difference?
The electric motor’s torque of 420 Nm, which is 90 Nm more than the old one, provides more balance during acceleration. You get a push instead of being pulled, and it’s nice that the force doesn’t pull on the steering wheel.
The XC40 Recharge doesn’t drive much like a different car than it did before. Volvo has prioritized safety, and the compact SUV is actually neither playful nor enjoyable on a winding road. It has dead steering and is quite unstable in direction.
With increased horsepower (the new electric motor produces 252 hp) and torque, there’s less reason to opt for the dual-twin version. For now, there’s less need for all-wheel drive (it has an additional electric motor up front) and 408 horsepower.
Now with longer range
It has a new 82 kWh battery and a usable capacity of 79 kWh. A big jump from the 69kWh that the front-wheel-drive Recharge had before.
When the new battery is combined with a new electric motor, it gives a double effect on range. It has received a significant boost, the new model reaches 571 kilometers. The old model’s 423km range wasn’t good enough for an electric car in this price range.
Volvo ships the XC40 Recharge Extended Range with a WLTP consumption of 16.4kWh per 100km, which makes the discontinued model’s 18.8kWh seem like pure gluttony. Volvo has also increased charging speed, and the 200 kilowatts the car can now get from a fast charger is more than acceptable.
And some other ideas..
I have a thought that comes up many times during the time I drive the gray Volvo. The infotainment system is not befitting a new car – especially not in a new Volvo, which starts at SEK 559,900.
The screen size and encased frame are hard to deal with if you care about technology and ease of use. The (small) 9.3-inch touchscreen is located much further back than the bezel around it, the side and bottom icons can be difficult to reach while driving and the icons actually look outdated.
The XC40 Recharge isn’t as quiet and stable on the highway as I remember from previous trips, and the suspension doesn’t work well enough to handle 2.1 tons. Handling isn’t an area where the XC40 Recharge is strong anymore.
There’s better suspension and more highway stability in the Audi Q4 E-Tron and Volkswagen ID.4, and the two German models are slightly larger and offer more space. The XC40 Recharge Extended Range has been boosted with more power and longer range, but the Q4 E-Tron (and ID.4) has also been upgraded and now comes with 286 horsepower and better range than before.
Volvo XC40 Recharge Extended Range Plus
Motor: electric motor (rear)
Acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h: 7.4 seconds
Maximum speed: 180 km/h
Consumption: 16.7 kW/100 km
Battery size: 82 kWh
Charging capacity: 200 kW
Range: 571 km
Dimensions (L/W/H): 444/186/165 cm
Net weight: 2,075 kilos
Towing weight: 1,500 kilograms
Luggage space: 452-1,328 litres