By on March 2, 2021

There was a time when practically any automaker could earn a few brownie points by proclaiming that they too would be transitioning toward becoming an electric-only manufacturer by [insert year here]. But times have changed and EVs have been around long enough for consumers to expect more than a promise that there would someday be more of them. There’s also a sense that regulations (stemming largely from Europe and China) are forcing the issue to a point where practically all automakers will eventually have to totally seize electrification or be forced to hand over vast amounts of money to governments or their chief rivals as a way to “offset” carbon emissions — making corporate promises far less impressive than they otherwise could have been.

Volvo, which was at the forefront of novel combustion powertrain solutions a few years ago, has since committed itself toward wholly embracing electrification under the tutelage of Geely Automotive. The Swedish-Chinese brand has made repeated announcements suggesting just how important EVs are for its future. On Tuesday, the company announced that it had officially committed itself to going fully electric by 2030 and showcased a new model while also vowing to make future sales online only. 

It’s effectively the same strategy being used by Lynk & Co — another Geely subsidiary that just so happens to rely on Volvo architecture. While still uncommon, the direct-to-consumer sales model is supposed to make the purchasing process easier, eliminate the need (or ability) to haggle on prices, and provide the automaker added production flexibilities.

Tuesday’s webcast was loaded with the industry’s favorite buzz terms (mobility, transparency, etc.). But the core aspects involved the company stating that it would be moving to online sales with more opportunities to partake in subscription services we’ve been rather critical of in the past. Volvo also took the opportunity to announce the C40 Recharge EV.

Basically, a battery-powered XC40 with less headroom for rear passengers, the C40 comes with a swept-back panoramic roof and lots of little touches to distinguish itself (bodywork, LEDs, unique colors). It’s also supposed to offer a totally leather-free interior (yay?) and prioritize connectivity features. Considering Volvo already builds the XC40 Recharge EV, it’s easy to miss the point of the C40 until you realize it’s checking the aforementioned trendy boxes.

While the EPA hasn’t had its way with the C40, testing of its boxier brother has us assuming a maximum range of about 208 miles, though Volvo seems to think the newer model is a bit more aerodynamic (which might improve the estimate). The cars are mechanically identical otherwise. Both utilize a 78-kWh battery pack and an electric motor at each axle, resulting in a net output of 402 horsepower and 486 pound-feet of torque. Volvo figures 60 mph should be available in 4.7 seconds and has capped the crossovers top speed at 112 mph.

The C40 Recharge will also be the first product from Volvo that will be available exclusively over the internet. Production is slated to begin at Volvo’s plant in Ghent, Belgium, this fall. We’re guessing North America will see its first examples near the end of 2021 with a price tag slightly higher than the XC40 Recharge’s $53,990 MSRP.

Afterward, Volvo says it plans to deliver a new EV (or hybrid) every year — starting with the updated XC90 in 2022. Ideally, it would like to see sales split evenly between BEVs and hybrids by 2025 as it strives to eliminate internal combustion entirely by the end of the decade.

“I am totally convinced there will be no customers who really want to stay with a petrol engine,” Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson told the media after Tuesday’s presentation. “We are convinced that an electric car is more attractive for customers.”

[Images: Volvo Cars]

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6 Comments on “Volvo Cars Now Following Lynk & Co Playbook, Introduces C40 Recharge...”

  • avatar

    Apparently there is not much interest in Volvo’s electrified future since I am the first to comment. When I lived in Russia in 1990s Volvo cars were very popular among Russians with money because they were considered mainly great winter cars, very durable and safe as a bonus (no one in Russia actually cared about safety in 90s). So what Volvo needs to do is to develop EV optimized for harsh winter conditions. Otherwise there is nothing else stands out in Volvo cars other than Scandinavian design. Is it enough to may extra for Volvo?

  • avatar

    Why start with the budget box? Someone shopping a fully electric Volvo, isn’t a budget buyer. The XC40 is Volvo’s worst car. Why not electrify something that’s decent such as the xc60,xc90, or one of their sedans? This is a management fail.

    • 0 avatar

      Price is probably the answer. Electrification is expensive, and this is the cheapest car in Volvo’s U.S. lineup. An XC90 is a $55-60,000 car to begin with, and electrifying it would probably add a good ten or fifteen grand to the sticker price. You’re right – Volvo shoppers aren’t “budget buyers,” but that’s Mercedes/BMW money, and Volvo isn’t at their level prestige-wise – at least not yet.

      Plus, the XC90 is a much larger, heavier vehicle, and that would impact EV range. I think this is a good model to try the electric treatment on.

  • avatar

    Volvo 240 EV – this is where its at Geely:

  • avatar

    Their CEO is wrong.

    I want a gasoline engine. My last vacation would have been impossible with an electric car. Full stop, don’t attempt to argue otherwise because there were times I drove for hours without encountering a town.

    Oh, and that vacation was taken in a Volvo.

    The 112mph limiter is a non-starter as well.

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