Test Volvo XC40 Recharge P8 100% Electric: on the way to 2030


While Volvo recently announced that it is preparing to offer only electric vehicles for sale by 2030, here is the very first to test: the Volvo XC40 Recharge Twin (you will see it, it has lots of different little names …).

The XC40 has been tried here or the by my comrades, so surely you know him. But the all-electric version here, which has just landed this year in concession, differs very slightly in terms of style. Obviously the mufflers disappear, and the word "Recharge" appears on the C-pillar (as on its hybrid cousins). It is especially the front end that appeals, sporting a solid grille. If on certain competitors it does not always please, here it must be recognized, it works very well. Particularly with a shiny livery, as on our test model, the Rouge Fusion (at no extra cost).

Although very similar to the new generation Volvo interiors, and even more to the classic XC40, there are a few changes to note in our version. This is the first time Android Automotive has been integrated into a production car. Designed in partnership with the Gothenburg teams, the infotainment on the central 9-inch screen is very close to the usual style, but above all will be very connected and usable with the Google Play Store. Updates can even be made remotely. Otherwise, this new system has the advantage of displaying more modern and sophisticated instrumentation, when Volvo's seemed too simplistic to me. The first start is also confusing, noting the total absence of a start button. The simple presence of the driver in the seat and pressing the brake pedal is enough to start. In use, this is sometimes practical, sometimes embarrassing; a simple matter of habit obviously. Finally, the roominess for 4 adults remains very pleasant, only the batteries encroach on 47 liters of the trunk, for a final volume of 413 L. This is compensated by a small trunk under the front hood of 31 liters.

If we forget the models of the young brand Polestar, unfortunately for the moment not distributed in France due to a dark history of logo, this Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric is the first 100% electric car from the Swedish manufacturer. After the “T”, “D” and “B” he inaugurates a brand new name “P”, for “Pure”. Currently, only a P8 version is offered. And if you're familiar with the Volvo nomenclature, you probably imagine a sizeable cavalry under the hood. And it is! If it's not really under the hood, there are actually two electric motors located on each axle. The technology therefore makes it possible to offer a power of… 408 hp (300 kW – 660 Nm)!

When we talk about an electric car, there are mainly two questions that come up, autonomy and acceleration. For the latter, such power will not fool you. 4.9 seconds is the time it takes for him to reach 100 km / h. With an instant start, without loss of grip, in an impressive silence and the back of the neck firmly against the seat. It’s still amazing. By force, you shouldn't be playing this anymore, but canonical, latency-free repeats will be to your advantage when inserting or passing. But it's not just good in a straight line. By grafting a 78 kWh (75 kWh useful) battery, which alone already weighs more than 500 kg, the machine is not a featherweight. And yet, its 2200 kg is not felt at all at the wheel. In addition to a permanent all-wheel-drive architecture, its low center of gravity and firm steering allow for very nice things on a twisty section. The flawless traction gives exceptional handling, and it really manages to give driving pleasure. Thanks to the standard sports chassis, it offers real dynamic behavior; there is simply a slight understeer without wallowing in the curves or suffering from frightening roll hold. You have to look far into the limits to hear the first screech of a tire, even when starting up. Continental EcoContact6 hang directly on the bitumen and we go like an arrow in the greatest discretion.

After this little moment of kif inherent in an electric vehicle, he just as quickly becomes the wisest in the world. Whether you like electric cars or hate them, that's also their strength. Performance almost worthy of a sports car, and driving pleasure like a good sedan. Combining the grip of today's cars, and the comfort of modern Volvos, the cocktail is frankly ideal for a daily. In Olympian calm, curled up in good leather seats, you can concentrate only on the road and all he wants is to check the miles. Its contained size (4425 mm) and easily assimilated, while being very welcoming, also allows us to be relaxed in any situation.

In addition to the silence of the electrics, the work on aerodynamic or rolling soundproofing makes journeys relaxing, especially in the tumult of Ile-de-France. If as a bonus you add to that a perfect suspension setting to absorb irregularities and other speed bumps, we find ourselves aboard a formidable road. Also at ease in the city, on the road or highway (forgetting the autonomy that melts away), it shows a versatility and smoothness of the most appreciable. Then finally, for even more serenity, we activate the "One pedal" mode with a click on the central screen. Initiated from memory by BMW on the i3, this mode promises you after a short adjustment to drive only with the accelerator pedal. Promise brilliantly kept to such an extent that it is possible to never use the brake pedal to stop. You almost have the impression that you are steering it with your head as you easily master stopping at a light, a stop sign or behind another motorist. As long as there is no hard braking of course.

Now, let's talk about the subject that annoys the most often: autonomy. Our XC40 P8 AWD is approved to 420 km in the WLTP cycle. Pretty good. Staying in the city, a consumption of about 15 kWh / 100 – hard to achieve – would even go up to 530 km if all the planets are aligned. In short, do not overdo the 408 hp, or the air conditioning, heated seats / steering wheel or even if it is not too cold outside. If you tickle the right pedal a little more, it flares up quickly to around thirty kWh, or a range of 250 km. But I trust you will be reasonable. Where it gets tricky is in terms of recharging. It is announced 40 min to go from 10 to 80% battery or a good hour for a full battery. This is great, but in practice it is less joyful. Already, these figures are achievable only on a 150 kW terminal, which does not run the streets. Then, between the terminals broken down, occupied, squatted by thermals or all those inaccessible without an additional registration, taking a little juice becomes immediately more complicated. Especially since once plugged in, it will probably be an 18/22 kW charging station which will immediately take much longer. Of course, on a daily basis, with your Wallbox at home or at work, it will be child's play. But when you step out of your personal comfort, you will have to calculate and organize yourself so as not to find yourself short of energy. Don't get me wrong, I'm not spitting in the soup, I just want to warn you. An electric car is cool, but it shows; especially when it comes to the main car in the household.

While a simple XC40 T2 in Momentum finish starts at € 29,950, the XC40 Pure Electric, offered directly in Plus or Pro finish, does not play in the same court. Its call price is indeed set at € 58,490 and, with a few options such as the Leather Pack at € 1570, tinted windows at € 390 or the Pro pack (sunroof, 360 ° camera, etc.) at € 4000 , we quickly reach € 64,450, excluding discounts. No ecological penalty of course (cool for a 408 hp car!), But at this price, no bonus point either *. On the other hand, it is exempt from TVS.

Are you ready to take the electric step? Do you have the budget for? Do you want a vehicle that looks like thermals? So yes, the Volvo XC40 Recharge Twin is to be taken into consideration. Pretty (according to passers-by in the street), powerful, dynamic, comfortable and endowed with an acceptable range, it concludes to seduce driver and passengers very easily.

Photo credit: Thomas D. (Fast Auto)

* Without option, the bonus of 3000 € for cars under € 60,000 is applicable on the Volvo XC40 P8. A discount of 4% is, as of 03/10/2021, offered in concession.

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