It’s rare for a new niche entry by any European automaker to go unanswered for long, especially if the engineering task is relatively straightforward, so it should come as no surprise that Volvo would want to play among other coupe-like compact crossovers and SUVs. The C40 Recharge is the latest model from the Swedish automaker, and odds are you’ve already seen its slightly boxier sibling, the XC40 Recharge.
The new model takes a page out of the German playbook by giving an existing SUV a more rakish roof, but it’s notable for something else: It’s the first Volvo model to be available solely as an EV, lacking a PHEV or gas-engined variant. (The Polestar 2 is marketed, of course, under its own Polestar brand.)
The C40 Recharge also takes a page out of many other design sketchbooks by featuring a contrasting black roof and a pyramid-shaped C pillar, which work well here visually. The roofline also sports two spoilers that follow the roof frame, looking not unlike a pair of starship-style thrusters. There’s yet another spoiler bill on the tip of the hatch, with the stripe-shaped taillights contributing to a mild cyberpunk theme overall.
“The C40 Recharge represents the future of Volvo and shows where we are going,” said Henrik Green, chief technology officer at Volvo Cars. “It is fully electric, offered online only with a convenient care package, and will be available for quick delivery. Getting a new Volvo was never this attractive.”
The powertrain, meanwhile, is a direct carryover from the XC40 Recharge featuring a 78-kWh battery powering two electric motors, one at each axle, good for a combined 402 hp and 486 lb-ft of torque. It will more than keep up with similarly shaped offerings from Team Germany, serving up 4.7-second sprint times from 0 to 60 mph.
Volvo also serves up another tweak, using its traditional passenger car alphanumeric nomenclature on an SUV for the first time. If you recall, the C70 of the 1990s and 2000s was decidedly a passenger car, derived from the Volvo 850 platform. The C40, on the other hand, is very much a compact sport utility and is directly related to the XC40.
Just how much range the C40 Recharge will offer is still a little vague, but it should land just north of the 200-mile mark, judging by the EPA estimate of its more wagon-shaped twin, which features a 208-mile range. That’s not a lot these days in this segment, even against the lowest-range (244 miles) Tesla Model Y, which isn’t even on the regular menu anymore (but is still available for ordering, for now). Whether this will hurt the C40 on the market remains to be seen, and will likely be dictated by what the Nissan Ariya and the VW ID.4 serve up when it comes to range and price.
Speaking of sales, Volvo will offer the C40 Recharge at a fixed price, and only online. The automaker actually plans to offer all of its electric models exclusively on the World Wide Web for now, along with bundled features like a charging plan, maintenance, and perhaps even insurance. You’ll also be able to get into one via a subscription service that will include the goodies listed above at a monthly price. Just what that price will be hasn’t been revealed—details are expected closer to the model’s commercial launch in the second half of this year—but it’s prudent to expect it to land a little north of the XC40 Recharge’s starting price, based on how other automakers have been pricing their coupe-like SUVs.
Will the C40 Recharge be a popular EV once it lands here, among the upcoming competition? Let us know in the comments below.
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