Just debuted, Volvo‘s XC40 Recharge will be—when it goes on sale late next year—the brand’s first fully electric vehicle. (Like Tesla, Volvo is happy to let you order yours now, then anxiously wait for its arrival.) Beyond this new model, Volvo plans to add Recharge models across the board—so the Recharge label can mean a hybrid or an EV. In fact, they won’t have an EV offering in all categories until 2025, when they want to sell a million electric cars worldwide, and reduce their CO2 emissions by half.
That said, even if Volvo could suddenly sell nothing but EVs starting tomorrow, the brand notes that nearly one-third of all emissions (whether hybrid, gas or electric) comes in the actual production, shipping, supply chain, and eventual disposal of cars at the end of their lifespan. As such, Volvo is also committing to reducing the carbon footprint of every car—regardless of drivetrain—by 40% by 2025 and will do so in part by increasing the use of recycled plastics in all cars and manufacturing with renewable energy whenever possible.
Another impressive aspect of the Recharge mission lies in its refund initiative: anyone who buys a Recharge model will get a refund for free electricity for an entire year of driving. Volvo wants to increase the number of drivers who consciously drive more in EV mode (which is already cheaper than having to fill up with gasoline). This reward will effectively make EV driving entirely free.
The XC40 Recharge fits well into Volvo’s present line-up for a number of reasons. First, it’s a crossover with AWD. Second, Volvo’s not telling us EPA ratings yet, but they’re predicting at least 200 miles of range, and that it will be very fast: zero to 60mph in 4.7 seconds. It will also be fast to charge, achieving 80% refuel in 40 minutes on a high-speed charger. (If that 200-mile range catches your eye, it’s worth noting that a $36,950 Hyundai Kona Electric gets 258 miles of range. It’s smaller, but with Tesla already setting the benchmark at 310 miles—for the longest range Model 3—it will be intriguing to see how Volvo manages the range-anxiety question.)
Also, there’s the reality that Volvo’s big three-row XC90 (followed by the all-new XC60, pictured above) leads in sales for the brand in the US, so it’s also compelling that they haven’t either come out with an all-new EV, or electrified their most premium car yet. Instead, they’re sticking with an “and/or” strategy. Regardless, despite it being the smallest, the XC40 is the prettiest crossover Volvo makes. The wheel-to-body proportions are simply perfect and the interiors are especially gorgeous.
Continuing their emphasis on interior amenities, the company also just announced the arrival of Android Automotive OS, a ground-up project between Google and Volvo. The idea was to create a similar experience to being home with a Google Assistant, but in the car. That means voice-controlled temperature, audio streaming, and more. With this new OS—first debuting on the XC40 Recharge—Volvo added options that will include being able to turn up the heat in your home prior to your arrival, but also will include navigation, real-time information in Google Maps for reroutes, and Volvo says they’re also harnessing data to display information like speed limits and tight curves ahead.