Volvo’s goal is to provide only electric vehicles by 2030, less than eight years from today. They are joined by Cadillac, Jaguar, renault, and Rolls Royce announcing that its entire lineup will soon be ditching internal combustion engines to make way for the exclusive use of all-electric powertrains.
We recently had the opportunity to drive the brand’s second all-electric offering, the C40 refill around the Palm Springs area of California, including a quick trip to Joshua Tree National Park.
|Quick Stats||Volvo C40 Recharge 2022|
|Motor||Synchronous permanent magnet|
|Power||2 – 204 hp (150 kW) Total power: 408 hp (300 kW)|
|Charging speeds||11 kW (level 2) 150 kW (DC fast charge)|
|Vary||226 miles (EPA)|
|Battery||78 kWh (total capacity) 75 kWh (usable capacity)|
|Price as tested||$59,845 (before incentives)|
We’ve driven the Volvo XC40 Recharge several times before and always liked the driving experience. The C40 Recharge is the “coupé” version of the XC40 Recharge, and besides the sloping tailgate which reduces rear headroom and available cargo space, it’s very hard to tell the difference between the two. And that’s mostly a good thing.
Driving dynamics are excellent. The C40 Recharge is well balanced, the steering has just the right amount of feedback and isn’t too heavy. Volvo claims the C40 Recharge can accelerate from a standstill to 60mph in 4.5 seconds, which is slightly faster than its sibling, the XC40 Recharge, but honestly it feels even faster than that.
Both vehicles share the same twin-motor powertrain rated at over 400 hp and 487 lb-ft.
The C40 Recharge has 7 inches of ground clearance, so we jumped at the chance to venture slightly off the course Volvo chose for us and do some off-roading. The vehicle was surprisingly capable and rose to the challenge without showing any signs of difficulty.
The seating position is also very high and offers very good outward vision, except for the tiny rear window that results from the sloping rear hatch. The interior is virtually the same as in the XC40 Recharge, with its more than subtly apparent Scandinavian design. Much of the interior materials are made from recycled materials, but they still look and feel premium. Volvo tells us that the C40 Recharge is the first vehicle Volvo has ever offered that doesn’t offer a genuine leather option.
“There is no long-term future for cars with internal combustion engines,” said Henrik Green, chief technology officer.
The 9″ center screen looks a bit puny compared to most other BEV picks in this category. Its low positioning isn’t ideal either, as I much prefer screens higher up on the board edge so my eyes don’t have to look It’s much better (and I guess safer) if you only have to look quickly to your right than to your right and also down to see the screen.
The native Android operating system works beautifully with voice commands to perform contactless functions like changing the cabin temperature and entering a destination into the navigation system. The touchscreen interface isn’t as snappy as the best systems we’ve tested, but it isn’t as sluggish as the systems found in the Volkswagen ID.4 or the Jaguar I Pace.
Just like in the Volvo XC40 Recharge – and Polestar 2, the C40 Recharge has a 78 kWh battery, of which 75 kWh is useful capacity. Since Volvo allows such a high percentage of the total battery to be used, the manufacturer recommends charging no more than 90% for daily charging, and there is a prompt in the charging settings to remind you of this . Owners set the maximum charge level in vehicle settings and can adjust it based on their range needs on a given day.
The maximum charge rate on a 240-volt Level 2 charging station is 11 kW, and the C40 Recharge comes with a 120-v/240-v dual-voltage portable charging cable that can deliver 40 amps (9 .6 kW) to the vehicle and will fully charge it from zero to 100% in about nine hours. Customers can choose to purchase a 48 amp charging station and charge slightly faster. A 48 amp (11 kW) charging station can fully charge the C40 Recharge in eight hours.
As for DC fast charging, the C40 Recharge has a maximum DC fast charge rate of 150kW and Volvo claims it will charge from 10% to 80% in 37 minutes. As always, we prefer to make our own DC fast charge records to analyze the full charging curve.
Therefore, we obtained special permission from Volvo to take our vehicle for a longer test drive than the rest of the guest journalists to allow us to discharge the battery to zero and record a full 0-100 charging session. % on a Electrifying America 350 kW DC fast charging station. We would like to thank the folks at Volvo for giving us this special permission, even though they were a bit worried that we would miss and need to be towed – something the PR people who manage these media players have nightmares.
But we convinced them that we knew what we were doing, and they let us go. However, that was not to be the case. We took it down to zero and plugged it in. The charging session has started well. We were down to 20% state of charge after eight minutes and C40 Recharge was accepting 143kW when the charging station made a clicking noise and turned off. We quickly plugged it back into another station but that station would only supply 43kW to the car so we gave up. So much for mapping the full load curve.
Volvo reps promised to get us a C40 refill for loan once they become available in the coming months. When this happens, we will do our 70 mph range test as well as full DC fast charge records.
Volvo doesn’t offer the usual Sport, Normal and Eco drive modes typically found on EVs (although they usually have distinctive names for each brand). There are only Drive and “B Drive” modes which are selected by pulling the shift lever one more time after putting it into Drive. To return to Drive, you pull the shifter again.
B Drive mode increases the level of regenerative braking but does not put the vehicle into a one-pedal drive mode. To do this, the driver must manually select one-pedal driving from the infotainment system settings. I found the level of regen perfectly suited to my taste in B mode for secondary roads, and in Drive for highways. When selected, the one-pedal ride worked flawlessly, with a smooth transition from slow rolling to a complete stop.
We got just under 200 miles with the vehicle and averaged 38.1 kWh per 100 miles, which works out to 2.62 miles per kWh. If we multiply that consumption rate by the useful battery capacity of 75 kWh, we get 197 miles, 29 miles less than the official EPA rating. That’s not too surprising since we were driving the C40 pretty hard, testing the acceleration and had our short stint off-road as well. I suspect if I drove it normally I’d get close to 220 miles on a full charge.
Temperatures were range friendly for most of the day – 70°F (29°C) to 80°F (31°C), so I would expect the C40 Recharge to have trouble getting 200 miles per charge in colder temperatures. However, it does come with a heat pump system, which should improve its efficiency a bit in cold weather.
But efficiency is an issue for the C40 Recharge, as it is for the XC 40 Recharge and Polestar vehicles. These three electric vehicles drive wonderfully and are all very good on their own. However, Volvo needs to find a way to improve its efficiency. For example, the Tesla Model Y is a larger crossover and has almost the same battery size, but its EPA range rating is 330 miles – 33% higher than the C40 recharge.
Volvo C40 Recharge vs Volvo XC40 Recharge vs Tesla Model Y EPA Comparison
We were able to test the ADAS Pilot Assist system of the C40 recharge during our long highway drive to drain the battery and everything worked perfectly. The C40 Recharge comes standard with a comprehensive set of driver assistance features, including adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist and emergency brake assist.
In fact, the C40 Recharge is very easy to order because everything available on the vehicle comes standard except for the metallic paint, which is a $695 option. Speaking of which, all of the C40 Recharge vehicles used in the first driving event were dressed in Volvo’s distinctive Fjord Blue, which looked fantastic on the vehicles.
That all adds up to an MSRP of $59,845, which is $3,450 more than the XC40 Recharge. For that, you get an extra 3 miles of EPA-rated range (226 miles vs. 223 miles), arguably sportier styling, and still slightly better performance. On the downside, you have to sacrifice rear headroom and cargo space.
Overall, I was really impressed with the C40 Recharge. I expected it to be very good since I’m a fan of the XC40 Recharge (except for its efficiency), but it exceeded my expectations. If that’s the direction of Volvo’s new electric future, then I think the brand will do just fine.