Volvo revealed its first fully electric vehicle, a battery-only version of its compact XC40 crossover, called the XC40 Recharge. The hip and charming five-seater isn't just important because of its propulsion system, but also because it's the brand's first-ever electric vehicle.
The Swedish automaker shared only a few of the XC40 Recharge's specifications, promising a range in excess of 249 miles (400 kilometers) of WLTP-rated range on a full charge of its floor-mounted battery. Recharging a dead battery to 80 percent will take as little as 40 minutes, and discharging it again can presumably be done just as fast, as the EV puts down 408 horsepower through a twin-motor all-wheel-drive system.
Volvo will offer the battery-only Recharge starting in early 2020 alongside the existing plug-in hybrid (PHEV) model, the T5 Twin Engine. It will be the first of five fully electric models that Volvo plans to launch within five years, not including those produced by Volvo's subsidiary Polestar. By 2025, Volvo hopes that electric vehicles like the XC40 Recharge will account for half its sales and PHEVs, the other half.
"We have said this several times before: for Volvo Cars, the future is electric," said Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson. "Today we take a major new step in that direction with the launch of our fully electric XC40 and the Recharge car line."
Though the EV market remains heavily fragmented with few models directly competing with others, the XC40 Recharge will have to tangle with an increasing number of challengers in the E-CUV market before long. Those able to afford a pricey electric crossover will be spoilt for choice within the next two years, a period in which Ford, Tesla, General Motors, and even Fisker are expected to reveal competitors of their own.
All these models will have to do battle with the market's existing Kia and Hyundai offerings.