Calling climate change “the greatest safety test” it needs to pass, Volvo is vowing that half the cars it sells in 2025 will be battery electric vehicles, with a model range that’s only BEVs by 2030. And by 2040, the company plans to be entirely carbon neutral, working with its partners to reduce emissions across the entire supply chain. (For a little more explanation, we talked to Volvo about sustainability and battery supply chains last year.) The statements were made at an online event on Tuesday morning to launch the company’s latest BEV, the C40 Recharge.
Previously, Volvo used the C-prefix for compact hatchbacks and bigger coupés. Now, the prefix denotes a fastback version of the XC40 Recharge crossover, probably because everyone wants crossovers and no one wants hatchbacks anymore. The family resemblance is immediately obvious, but Volvo says that everything from the A pillar backward is new. This becomes evident when you look at it in profile—there’s a more steeply canted windshield at the front, and at the rear a spoiler integrated into the roof helps maintain rear headroom.
The fastback crossover might be even more distinctive once the sun goes down. New “Thor’s Hammer” headlights have pixel technology for the first time and also have elements that move with the steering to better illuminate the road. And at the rear, there is a new twilight signature that looks particularly cool in the dark (and which was influenced by childhood memories of Battlestar Galactica, according to one of Volvo’s designers.
The C40 Recharge also comes with the same Android Automotive infotainment system that impressed me so much in the XC40 Recharge and Polestar 2. And mechanically, the C40 Recharge is identical to the XC40 Recharge that we drove briefly last November. So that means an electric motor for each axle with a combined power output of 300 kW (408 hp), powered by a 78 kWh lithium-ion battery pack made in-house. It will have the same usable capacity of 75 kWh, but the more aerodynamic range should equate to a slight increase in range over the XC40 Recharge’s official EPA estimate of 208 miles (335 km).
During our online briefing this morning, Volvo was asked whether this was a disappointingly low range, but the company said the C40 Recharge (and the XC40 Recharge) will mostly be bought as second cars and that waking up every morning with more than 200 miles of range is sufficient for day-to-day activities. Like its less-sleek sibling, the C40 Recharge will DC fast charge at up to 150 kW, which will take the battery from 0 to 80 percent in 40 minutes.
During the event this morning, Volvo also announced that it is transitioning to an entirely online sales process. State laws that protect the dealership model mean Volvo still needs to work out how to implement this move in the US, but the company says it’s working together with its dealership partners to make it happen. And its “Care by Volvo” experiment evidently worked well, because it’s expanding the concept to all its future electric Volvos. This is a subscription service where the monthly fee includes the car but also bundles maintenance and insurance (with no obligation to keep the car at the end of the subscription).
Production of the C40 Recharge begins later this year in Belgium, but Volvo isn’t ready to commit to US deliveries earlier than “later next year.” Pricing information should follow closer to that date.
Listing image by Volvo