Swedish-Chinese carmaker Volvo has unveiled an ambitious plan to do its bit to help reduce carbon emissions, unveiling its first fully electric vehicle at an event in Los Angeles on Wednesday (US time), along with a range of measures from free electricity for PHEV owners and a goal to reduce its own operating emissions.
The 2020 XC40 Recharge – based on the popular XC40 small SUV – will offer acceleration from 0-100km/hr in just under 5 seconds and power output of 300kW from its motors and 660Nm torque.
With a 78kWh battery, range is expected to be over 400km range based on the European WLTP rating system, although Volvo clarifies that exact specs will be dependent on markets.
The XC40 Recharge will also be the first from Volvo with an Android Automotive embedded infotainment system, and will be offered in 8 colors including a range of tones from white to black, silver, sage green, blue and red.
As we covered in early October, Volvo has also applied its safety-first ethos to the XC40 Recharge, ensuring passenger safety and battery integrity in the event of a collision via a new safety structure for the all-electric Volvo XC40.
This involves a safety cage around the battery made of extruded aluminum frame that is embedded in the centre of the body structure, creating a crumple zone around the battery.
At the same time, Volvo has also strengthened the body structure of the vehicle. The electric powertrain has been integrated into the body structure to better direct the forces involved in an accident away from the cab.
Built on the same Compact Modular Architecture platform as Volvo’s electric offshoot Polestar 2, it forms the first of what Volvo will from now refer to as its Recharge series encapsulating all its battery electric (BEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) vehicles.
Another electric vehicle will be added to the range each year, Volvo says, while it will seek to ensure PHEV owners also make the most of reducing carbon emissions by encouraging them to charge up for the first 12 months of ownership with free electricity.
Considering the International Energy Agency has just pointed an accusing finger at SUVs for being the second biggest contributor to increasing carbon emissions since 2010, the electric XC40 SUV is a welcome addition to the global electric auto market (and it is expected in Australia by the end of 2020).
At the XC40 Recharge unveiling event, Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson said that climate change is “a real threat to our future”, and that the commercial sector has a role to play in dealing with the problem.
“We believe that there must really be action from the business community, from companies and industries that could make the difference,” he said.
To help achieve that, Volvo’s all-electric vehicle sales goal is an ambitious 50% of global sales by 2025, with the rest of sales to be plug-in hybrids.
“Stopping movement is not the answer to solve the climate issue,” said Volvo CTO Henrik Green at the event.
“We want to offer people the freedom to move in a sustainable way. You cannot and will not solve the climate problem by gradually by improving petrol and diesel engines.
“Pure electric cars running on and built using renewable energy are the only cars that can really do it.”
Volvo will also look to improve its own carbon footprint, with an additional goal of reducing its own emissions by 40% by putting everything from manufacturing, operations and shipping under the magnifying glass.
Pricing for the XC40 recharge has not yet been announced but interested customers can reserve now
Bridie Schmidt is associate editor for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.