Volkswagen ID4, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Mercedes EQA, BMW iX3… Electric SUVs are on the rise this year. It is Volvo’s turn to enter this very competitive segment with the XC40 P8 Recharge AWD (59,940 euros), its first “zero emission” model. Visually, you have to be a connoisseur of the automotive world to distinguish it from an XC40 R-Design, the finish on which it is based. Apart from the specific grille, the new 19-inch rims and the discreet badge on the tailgate, nothing differentiates the two versions. However, our test model arouses the curiosity of passers-by. Its exclusive “Sage Green” shade is certainly no stranger to this.
On board, we find the warm atmosphere of the Swedish SUV and the same seriousness in the quality of manufacture. There are some specificities compared to the other versions, such as the appearance of an all-digital handset (unfortunately with little customizable display), USB-C ports and the disappearance of the start button. To drive, just move the gear lever and press the brake pedal, like on the Volkswagen ID3. But the big news is at the 9-inch touch screen.
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A multimedia system developed by Google
Indeed, the electric XC40 is the first vehicle to carry the multimedia system developed by Android. The use is similar to that of your smartphone, with the difference that the Play Store catalog is less rich. Cannot download Youtube or Netflix, for example. Only MyCanal is available but… without the image. Too bad, because this type of application has its place in electric vehicles, for which recharging can take several hours.
For now, we must therefore be content with classic applications such as the Google Assistant (practical for controlling the car by voice), Spotify (music) or even Google Maps (GPS). The latter receives some additional practical features, even almost essential on an electric: display of the remaining range at destination, charging stations available along a route if recharging is necessary.
Two chests are better than one
Despite the large battery (78 kWh capacity) housed under the floor, the rear habitability is identical to that of the other versions. And if the electric XC40 loses slightly in loading volume (413 liters), it gains an additional 31 liters under the engine hood. Indeed, it has a small front box, deep enough to store the two charging cables supplied with the vehicle (charger for 230V socket and “Type 2” cable to connect to the AC charging stations).
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Paris-Deauville, too easy?
The sun is shining brightly in mid-March. An ideal time to leave the Paris region in the direction of Normandy. A challenge that is almost too easy for the electric XC40, which announces a mixed range of over 400 kilometers on paper, which is double our Paris-Deauville journey. Problem: Our XC40’s battery is only 73% charged. And despite our good will, we did not find any terminal near our position to fill up with electricity before departure (occupied or out of service).
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We therefore leave with a handicap: the obligation to stop at a charging station on the way. While preparing our route on Google Maps, we made a disturbing observation: very fast charging stations (over 100 kW, Ionity type) are very rare on our route. Difficult to find a terminal of more than 50 kW on the A13, which will inevitably have an impact on the charging time of our XC40. But let’s leave this constraint aside to hit the road.
The first kilometers in the capital are no problem: electricity consumption is low in the city – a good point for autonomy – and the smooth driving invites zenitude. Especially since the electric XC40 has a function allowing the vehicle to be braked to a complete stop by taking your foot off the accelerator. Unlike other models using the same system (One Pedal), Volvo’s is pleasant to use and progressive. Despite fairly heavy traffic, we finally arrive on the A13 motorway. The maximum speed then goes from 90 to 110 km / h, then to 130 km / h. Electricity consumption follows the same trend: 22 kWh / 100 km at 110 km / h and nearly 30 kWh / 100 km at 130 km / h. Therefore, we prefer to limit our speed to 110 km / h to preserve the battery… whose autonomy has already dropped to 55% as we approach the first toll, near Mantes-la-Jolie.
It must be said that the Normandy motorway is very hilly, which has a significant impact on consumption. To make matters worse, the thermometer did not exceed 5 degrees that day, forcing us to turn on the heat a little.
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After nearly an hour on the road, during which we appreciate the good soundproofing of the vehicle, we arrive at our charging point, located in Tourville-la-Rivière near Cléon. But (bad) surprise when arriving on site: the terminal is nowhere to be found. This is the number one fear of all electric vehicle owners. In our case, it comes at the worst time: the on-board computer displays less than 25% of remaining autonomy. We find another terminal about 30 kilometers from our position, located on a motorway rest area. We go there lightly because Google Maps announces an autonomy of barely 20% on our arrival.
Luckily, the station exists this time and the only available terminal is free. The power delivered by the charger (50 kW) is far from reaching that tolerated by the vehicle (150 kW), but we still manage to recover 80% of the range in just over an hour. We leave the station with enough energy to reach our destination. This is the opportunity to test the performance of the electric XC40 because, despite its air of peaceful SUV, it has under the hood. Its two electric motors (one on each axle) provide a total power of 408 hp for a maximum torque of 660 Nm. Therefore, each acceleration sticks you to the back of your seat (from 0 to 100 km / h in less than 5 seconds ), despite the vehicle’s 2.188 kg.
Assessment of the test
Limited speed to preserve autonomy, phantom station, very rapid absence of terminals: our journey was not without hindrance. And much longer than expected: nearly 3:20, compared to around 2 hours in normal times. Of course, we left with a vehicle loaded to three quarters of its capacity, but this shows that the lack of infrastructure is still penalizing today for driving electric. And again, the problem is no longer to find a terminal, but to hope that it is available and in working order.
Performance and traction thanks to four-wheel drive
Ride comfort and careful soundproofing
The very convincing “One Pedal” function
High consumption on the highway
The on-board computer does not indicate the remaining range in km
The Android multimedia system still far from complete
TECHNICAL DATA VOLVO XC40 P8 RECHARGE AWD
Motor & Battery
Number of motors: 2 (one per axle)
Maximum power: 300 kW (408 hp)
Max torque: 660 Nm
Battery capacity: 78 kWh (75 kWh useful)
Battery warranty: 8 years or 160,000 km
Performance & Autonomy
Max speed: 180 km / h (limited)
0 to 100 km / h: 4.9 seconds
Combined range: 418 km (WLTP)
Charging time: 7.5h (11 kW); 40 min (150 kW)
Max load: 150 kW
Dimensions & Weight
L x W x H: 4.43 x 1.86 x 1.65 m
Wheelbase: 2.70 m
Trunk: 413 liters (rear); 31 liters (front)
Weight: 2.188 kg
Budget & Manufacturing
Price: from 59,940 euros
Guarantee: 3 years
Ecological bonus: 3,000 euros (until June 30, 2021)
Release date in France: January 2021
Country of production: Belgium
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