Making good on its promise that the future will be electric, Volvo has readied the XC40 Recharge P8 compact crossover for a spring debut. Though it doesn’t seem to have secured an idyllic price tag. The electrified XC40 starts at $54,985, including a $995 destination fee, which makes it around $20,000 dearer than the gasoline model. That’s a lot of dough for such a small vehicle, even after federal (and potentially state) tax incentives shave a few thousand off the top. Surely customers will be getting a top-shelf automobile on par with the Tesla Model 3 Performance, if not better, to help that MSRP make some sense. But the math just isn’t working out in Volvo’s favor based on the specs given. Model 3 destroys it in every metric that isn’t headroom because it is not a crossover.
While the XC40 Recharge comes in below its larger European counterparts on price, and often by a fairly narrow margin, its maximum range is an EPA-estimated 208 miles. That places it within striking distance of the bigger electrics manufactured by Audi or Jaguar. But Tesla will happily sell customers a Model Y boasting 326 miles of range for about $10,000 less than the XC40. The only downside is that the American brand’s sales success has already exhausted its allotted federal tax credits, meaning you’ll get more money from the government if you buy something Swedish-Chinese.
Volvo said the Recharge would have a 78 kWh battery pack and a dual motor setup delivering a combined 300 kW. That’s allegedly good enough to see 60 mph in just 4.7 seconds from a dead stop and is closer to what we’d expect from an EV in 2020. But that range isn’t great and has been the Achilles heel for some European automakers hoping to export electric cars to North America — where the average commute takes a bit longer.
Part of the problem is that the XC40 is not a dedicated EV. While Volvo always planned to build an electric version of the crossover, it started life as a gasoline-powered automobile. This may also make the model a tough sell when it’s positioned beside nearly identical vehicles with an MSRP that’s $20,000 cheaper. But the manufacturer seems confident that the vehicle has other features that will help sway customers.
The XC40 Recharge P8 will be the first car in Volvo’s lineup to include an Android-powered infotainment system that bakes in Google’s Assistant, Maps, Play Store, and more. This opens up the door to network the car to home devices and personal accounts, though it is kind of creepy how integrated Big Tech is becoming in regard to automobiles. This is doubly true as vehicles increasingly utilize equipment (cameras, radar arrays, ultrasonic sensors) as part of advanced safety suites, which the XC40 EV is also getting.
Volvo has said demand for the model is already strong, however, and is already contributing to the corporate plan of having 50 percent of its global sales to consist of pure EVs by 2025. North America can expect to see the 2021 XC40 Recharge going on sale early next year. Meanwhile, production is already underway in Belgium and Europe should be seeing deliveries before the end of October.
[Images: Volvo Cars]