Volvo Begins Production of the Fully-Electric XC40 Recharge SUV
【Summary】Swedish automaker Volvo Cars has officially taken its first steps towards electrifying its entire model lineup. The automaker announced on Thursday that production has begun of the new fully-electric Volvo Recharge compact SUV. The Recharge is a fully electric version of the best-selling Volvo XC40 SUV, a compact crossover first unveiled in Sept 2017.
Swedish automaker Volvo Cars has officially taken its first steps towards electrifying its entire model lineup. The automaker announced on Thursday that production has begun of the new fully-electric Volvo Recharge compact SUV.
The Recharge was unveiled in October of last year. It's the first of many electric models Volvo plans to introduce over the next five years. Volvo's entry in the electric vehicle segment comes as rival Tesla has risen to become the world's most valuable automaker.
Now Tesla is facing growing competition for its Model Y crossover from Volvo, Volkswagen with its ID.4 SUV and Ford's Mach-E electric crossover, as well as new electric models from other automakers.
The Recharge is a fully electric version of the best-selling XC40 SUV, a compact crossover first unveiled in Sept 2017. The gas-powered XC40 vehicle launched as a 2018 model and was the first Volvo model to win the coveted European Car of the Year award.
In addition to being Volvo's first electric vehicle, the XC40 Recharge is also the first Volvo branded vehicle to come with Google's Android Auto built in, so drivers can use their favorite Google apps such as Maps, Assistant and Play without having to sync a smartphone. The new EV also supports over-the-air software updates, so the vehicle's operating system can be kept always up to date.
The electric version of the Recharge is based on Volvo's Compact Modular Architecture (CMA), an advanced vehicle platform co-developed with Chinese automaker Geely Group, Volvo's parent company.
Volvo's Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) platform will underpin its future electric models.
The all-wheel drive XC40 Recharge offers an estimated WPTP (Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure) range of over 248 miles on a single charge. The electric powertrain outputs 408 horsepower. The XC40 Recharge can go from 0 to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds.
The SUV's battery can be charged to 80% of its capacity in roughly 40 mins using a DC fast-charger. The battery cell for the Recharge will be supplied by both South Korean battery maker LG Chem and China's CATL to ensure enough to meet demand, according to Volvo.
Volvo said that consumer interest in the Recharge XC40 has remained strong. The company said that all of the Recharge models being produced this calendar year have already been sold. The first cars are scheduled to be delivered to customers in Europe later this month.
The electric Recharge will be produced at Volvo's factory in Ghent, Belgium. Volvo spent time retooling the plant to produce the Recharge and has already built pre-production vehicles, which Volvo says is standard process for all of its new models to ensure top quality.
"Today is a momentous occasion for Volvo Cars and for all employees here in Ghent," said Javier Varela, head of global industrial operations and quality. "As we continue to electrify our line-up, the Ghent plant is a real trailblazer for our global manufacturing network."
The Recharge is an electric version of Volvo's XC40 compact crossover. Production has begun in Ghent, Belgium.
As a company that focused on safety, Volvo Cars safety engineers have completely redesigned and reinforced the frontal structure of the XC40 Recharge to address the absence of a front internal combustion engine. Volvo says the Recharge offers the same level of safety as the rest of its model lineup.
The battery pack is protected by a safety cage embedded in the middle of the vehicle's body structure. Its placement low in the floor of the car also lowers the centre of gravity of the car, for better protection against roll-overs and better overall handling.
The absence of an internal combustion engine up front gives drivers additional storage space with a large ‘frunk' storage area under the front hood.
The name "Recharge" will also be the nameplate for all future Volvo models equipped with a fully electric or plug-in hybrid powertrain. In the future, every Volvo model in Volvo's vehicle lineup will include a Recharge battery-powered model.
By 2025, Volvo expects that 50% of its global sales will be battery-powered or hybrids vehicles. Volvo's plan is to reduce its CO2 footprint per car by 40% by 2025.
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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