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The XC40 Recharge is the start of something big for Volvo

22 October 2019

It’s been about a week since Volvo announced their first all-electric model, the XC40 Recharge, but that’s not what has us excited. They’ve pledged one of the auto industry’s most bold emissions reduction plans with electrification at the centre of it all. So what exactly are they promising and how will they make it happen?

Meet the XC40 Recharge

The ‘Recharge’ line is all set to be the label on Volvo’s electric vehicle lineup going forward, and it’s all kicking off with the XC40. 

Like its combustion counterparts, the XC40 Recharge is a small SUV designed for suburban liveability and the established Volvo values of safety and efficiency. It’s the first all-electric model from the Chinese-Swedish automaker — not counting the Polestar 2 (Polestar are a Volvo/Geely subsidiary).

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Volvo have confirmed the XCC40 Recharge will have over 400 km of WLTP-rated range thanks to a 78 kWh battery and a sub-5 second 0-100 km/h. Styling will closely reflect the aesthetics of the combustion XC40 range with the not-so-subtle inclusion of a closed-off grille to set it apart.

An Australian release date has yet to be confirmed, but early reports suggest we’ll be seeing the first all-electric Volvo sometime in 2021. As usual, that will likely come several months after it appears in other markets.

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Bold pledges from Volvo

So we know what to expect from the XC40 Recharge. It’s a Volvo, right? It’ll be safe, it’ll be respectable, it’s probably going to secure a healthy niche of happy customers when it lands in Australia and elsewhere. But it wasn’t the only announcement Volvo made this month.

Volvo are backing up their electrification plans with an ambitious set of company-wide goals for sustainability. The first of these is a pledge to bring all-electric models up to half of all their car sales by 2025, with hybrids making up all of the rest. 

That’s a huge target for a company that have only just announced their first EV. Their pro-electric goal certainly isn’t the first of a major automaker, but they have made the crucial distinction of separating plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) and all-electric EVs in their target. Other major companies including Porsche and BMW have set combined EV/PHEV targets up to 50%, while others have rejected sales targets in favour of more vague ‘electrification’ strategies.

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Volvo have also stated a long-term plan for company-wide carbon neutrality by 2040 — that’s including emissions over the lifetime of the vehicle. By that same metric, they’re estimating a 40% reduction by 2025, mostly thanks to the glut of EVs expected to join their lineup in that time.

Håkan Samuelsson, Volvo Chief Executive:

“We are transforming our company through concrete actions, not symbolic pledges. So at Volvo Cars we will address what we control, which is both our operations and the tailpipe emissions of our cars.”

Sticking to these goals will make Volvo one of the world’s leading sustainable automakers. They’ll need to deliver a lot more EVs to make it happen, but that’s something we’re more than happy to see.

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