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Software Issue Strands Volvo’s New XC40 Recharge EV at Cargo Ports

Volvo's first electric vehicle may not make it out of U.S. ports for over a month because a vital piece of software wasn't activated.

Volvo’s roll-out of its first electric vehicle, the XC40 Recharge SUV, has been thwarted by a software issue. The new XC40 Recharge SUVs are being held back at U.S. ports as they were shipped without the vital Volvo On Call software activated, reports The Verge. Volvo plans on updating the XC40 Recharge’s software before sending the SUVs on to customers and dealers. 

Volvo On Call is the subscription service that allows owners to access diagnostic information, turn the car on and off and lock and unlock its doors all from their smartphones. Unfortunately, this means customers who already ordered an XC40 Recharge may have to wait weeks for their new cars to arrive. 


As an email from Volvo customer service quoted by The Verge explained: 

“[Y]our Recharge has arrived at Port Newark. However, at this time delivery of your XC40 Recharge will be delayed due to the Volvo On Call system not yet being functional due to a software issue. We are awaiting word from Volvo Sweden on final updates for the cars in the ports.” 

That email was from mid-February, and the wait isn’t over. One customer told The Verge that his XC40 Recharge was supposed to arrive at the end of February, but his dealership now expects it to be held at the Newark, N.J., port until mid-April. Other Volvo owners have taken to the XC40 Forums to speak out about their XC40 Recharges getting held up in ports in California, New York and Maryland. 

The Volvo XC40 Recharge is one of many cars that relies on over-the-air software updates for occasional upgrades and updates. Its first over-the-air update was at the end of last month, when existing XC40 Recharges got a crucial update to its main electronics system’s base software and range as well as a fix for a propulsion-related safety bug. 

A Volvo representative wouldn’t comment on specifics when The Verge pressed them for comment, but noted that the roll-out was still mostly on schedule. 

“The timing of U.S. customer deliveries of XC40 Recharge has not changed from the original schedule of Q1 2021,” Volvo Car USA National Media Relations Manager Russell Datz told The Verge via email. Datz also declined to comment as to whether the XC40 Recharge’s recent over-the-air update was related to the issue that’s stranded a bunch of XC40 Recharges in ports. 

Still, the XC40 Recharge isn’t the only new car to suffer issues with connected services. As The Verge notes, the Volkswagen ID.3 was released with incomplete software after suffering from other production delays. More recently, Kia’s connected services went down, leaving owners without the ability to remotely start their vehicle or even pay their bills in the middle of a harsh winter weather blast. 

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