Volvo isn’t being shy about it: We need to change our ways to combat climate change issues the world faces today. Cars in particular—including, by Volvo’s admission, its own—are primary contributors to greenhouse gas emissions and resource depletion that pose a massive problem for society today.
Rather than take a fatalistic approach and suggest that we end driving entirely, Volvo thinks there’s a smarter, more holistic way. This new approach is better for the planet, but at the same time will add value to Volvo’s business—not to mention still produce fun-to-drive vehicles. Enter the 2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge.
What’s more, the structural reinforcements surrounding the battery increase the stiffness of the vehicle, while the battery pack itself lowers the center of gravity compared to a gas-powered XC40. That said, it adds about 1,100 pounds to the weight of a comparable XC40 T5.
In terms of styling, it’s practically identical to the haute-couture XC40. Of course there’s no tailpipe, but the most notable change in design is the grille. Like what’s been seen on other electric vehicles, Volvo replaces open slats with a solid panel to emphasize the absence of an internal combustion engine. There’s still an open slit at the bottom to allow a small amount of airflow for front motor cooling.
Inside, it’s the same ultra-modern cabin as the XC40, until you get to the infotainment screen. Gone is the previous Sensus system. In its place is a new Google-developed Android interface offers new levels of connectivity between the apps a driver might use on their mobile phone and the vehicle itself.
Unlike some combustion-engine cars converted to electric power, there’s no compromise on interior volume or passenger comfort in the XC40 Recharge. In fact, it offers more cargo space than a gas-powered XC40: The absence of the engine enables a small frunk to be mounted under the hood.
Ultimately, this vehicle exists to advance environmental equilibrium in personal transportation, but this won’t be a one-and-done effort for Volvo—in fact, it’s only the beginning. With the XC40 Recharge as a starting point, the brand is committed to rolling out one new Recharge-branded all-electric vehicle every year through 2025. That will include a variant of the next-generation XC90 SUV, due to be unveiled in 2021. On top of those, Volvo will expand its offerings of plug-in hybrids across its range. To incentivize buyers, it’ll offer one year of free electricity for all these Recharge-series vehicles.
All the while Volvo will offer the stylish, safe, and smart vehicles it established itself on, while advancing sustainability principles the entire industry can emulate. Expect the XC40 Recharge to hit the streets in late 2020.