What's in a Name? Volvo Reveals 'XC40 Recharge' and 'Volvo Recharge'

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
whats in a name volvo reveals 8216 xc40 recharge and 8216 volvo recharge

Volvo Cars’ new electric crossover has a name, and it just happens to be something people hate doing. The XC40 is the brand’s new EV, crafted out of the compact XC40 crossover and helped in its mission by the model’s versatile modular platform. To make it work, Volvo first carried out some alterations. See details here.

“Recharge” isn’t just the name applied to the brand’s new EV ⁠— it’s a new sub-brand under which all upcoming EVs and plug-in hybrids will reside. An invitation to confusion or buried psychological disdain? Possibly.

As plug-in hybrids are not a new thing in the Volvo lineup, the brand already boasts numerous vehicles worthy of the badge. And they’ll get that badge, starting now. As more fully-electric models enter the fray, they too will gain a Recharge label.

It’s something of an odd strategy to lump both PHEVs and EVs under the same banner, as donning the name “Recharge” implies that the vehicle requires it. In a PHEV, one needn’t plug in their vehicle ever again, should they choose to ignore why they paid thousands more for such a feature.

As for EVs, range anxiety remains an issue afflicting the segment, despite advances in battery capacity and driving radius. You can’t carry a jerry can of electricity back to your car after paying the occupants of a nearby farmhouse for it. With this in mind, naming a vehicle after the thing that weighs heavily on the psyche of some buyers is an interesting decision.

Then again, Volvo has an aggressive electrification plan underway. The brand hopes to make EVs account for half of the automaker’s sales by 2025 ⁠— a lofty goal, to be sure, given current adoption rates (Europe and Asia will clearly do the heavy lifting). All Volvo models will be electrified in some way under the plan, meaning no purely gas-powered vehicles. The automaker expects PHEVs to make up 20 percent of its volume next year.

“From early 2020 customers entering the Volvo Cars website will first be asked whether they want a Volvo Recharge car or not,” the automaker stated. “To further encourage electric driving, every Volvo Recharge plug-in hybrid model will come with free electricity for a year, provided through a refund for the average electricity cost during that period.”

As for the XC40 Recharge, the all-wheel drive crossover generates up to 408 horsepower and boasts a range of 249 miles on the European WLTP cycle. EPA figures should pare this back to just over 200 miles.

The XC40 Recharge carries another innovation for the company that, like the powertrain, is often associated with the act of recharging. The model is Volvo’s first vehicle outfitted with Google’s Android operating system as the brains behind the infotainment screen.

Expect pricing to land closer to the model’s on-sale date.

[Images: Volvo Cars]

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4 of 11 comments
  • ToddAtlasF1 ToddAtlasF1 on Oct 17, 2019

    It was bound to happen. Something was lost in translation from the original Chinese and Geely named their new EV in a way that serves as a brutal reminder that buyers have chosen a technology that's been justifiably obsolete for a century.

    • See 1 previous
    • ToddAtlasF1 ToddAtlasF1 on Oct 17, 2019

      @SCE to AUX It needs to refer to the least desirable quality of their product, like "Overpriced Chinese Garbage," or considering their involvement in totalitarian efforts to give our cars illegal search and seizure capabilities, "Commie POS."

  • HotPotato HotPotato on Oct 18, 2019

    Ugh. Picking the name of the thing that's most feared and misunderstood by EV novices will just scare off ICE drivers. And lumping the PHEVs in with the EVs will drive off EV buyers, since Volvo's PHEVs are the usual bad-faith Euro tax-dodge variety that's unable to eke out more than maybe a dozen miles range, and can't keep the ICE extinguished unless you drive like there's a fragile ostrich egg under the accelerator. Marketing fail from either angle. That said: 408 horsepower in a subcompact CUV!? That sounds like some tire-shredding fun. Let me guess: Volvo isn't targeting a price of just $40k before incentives for this tough little robot anymore.

  • Jeff S I am not a fan of Tesla and they were niche vehicles but it seems that they have become more common. I doubt if I get an EV that it would be a Tesla. The electrical grid will have to be expanded because people over the long run are not going to accept the excuse of the grid can't handle people charging their EVs.
  • AMcA The '70 Continentals and Town Cars may have been cousins to the standard body Fords and Mercurys, they didn't have to be disguised, because they had unique, unbelievably huge bodies of their own. Looking at the new 1970 interior, I'd say it was also a cost savings in sewing the seat. Button tufted panels like the 1969 interior had require a lot of sewing and tufting work. The 1970 interior is mostly surface sewing on a single sheet of upholstery instead of laboriously assembled smaller pieces. FINALLY: do I remember correctly that the shag carpet shown under these cars was a Photoshop? They didn't really go so peak '70s as to photograph cars on shag carpets, did they?
  • Inside Looking Out Toyota makes mass market cars. Their statement means that EVs are not mass market yet. But then Tesla managed to make mass market car - Mode; 3. Where I live in CA there are more Tesla Model 3s on streets than Corollas.
  • Ltcmgm78 A lot of dirt must turn before there's an EV in every driveway. There must be a national infrastructure plan written by other than politicians chasing votes. There must be reliable batteries that hopefully aren't sourced from strategic rivals. There must be a way to charge a lot of EVs. Toyota is wisely holding their water. There is a danger in urging unplanned and hasty moves away from ICE vehicles. Do we want to listen to unending speeches every election cycle that we are closer than we have ever been to 100% electrification and that voting for certain folks will make it happen faster? Picture every car in your town suddenly becoming all electric and a third of them need a charge or the driver will be late for work. This will take a lot of time and money.
  • Kendahl One thing I've learned is that cars I buy for local errands tend to be taken on 1,000 mile trips, too. We have a 5-speed Focus SE that has gone on longer trips than I ever expected. It has served us well although, if I had it to do over again, I would have bought an ST. At the time of purchase, we didn't plan to move from 1,000 feet elevation to 6,500. The SE is still adequate but the ST's turbo and extra power would have been welcome.