Due in New Zealand in 2021, the XC40 Recharge is the first of several fully electric Volvos to come, and the start of production represents a significant step towards Volvo Cars’ ambition to reduce its CO2 footprint per car by 40 per cent by 2025. That same year, it expects 50 per cent of its global sales to consist of fully electric cars, with the rest hybrids.
Coby Duggan, Volvo NZ general manager says their first pure EV will be a welcome addition to the range.
He says according to latest industry figures, at the end of August the total EV fleet in New Zealand had grown by 37% compared to the same time last year.
“Despite the impact of the COVID pandemic on vehicle sales, the New Zealand EV fleet size has seen significant growth and pure light EVs have become increasingly popular, particularly among private buyers.
“With the XC40 already our most popular model, we are anticipating strong demand for the fully electric XC40 Recharge when the first examples land here late next year,” he says.
Volvo says customer demand for the XC40 Recharge has been strong and while order books remain open, every car scheduled to be built this calendar year has already been sold. The first cars are scheduled to be delivered to customers in Europe later this month.
The start of customer car production follows a period of preparation in which the Ghent plant has built a limited number of pre-production cars. This process, standard procedure for every new model, aims to optimise the production flow and ensure top-notch quality of every car built. All relevant production staff have also received extensive training on safely building electric cars.
“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.”
As a fully electric version of the XC40 SUV, the first Volvo to win the European Car of the Year award, the XC40 Recharge is based on the Compact Modular Architecture (CMA), an advanced vehicle platform co-developed within the Geely Group.
The all-wheel drive XC40 Recharge offers a projected range of over 400Km (WLTP, Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure) on a single charge and output of 408hp. The battery can charge to 80 per cent of its capacity in approximately 40 mins on a fast-charger system.
The new, Android-powered infotainment system offers customers personalisation, improved levels of intuitiveness and embedded Google technology and services, such as the Google Assistant, Google Maps and the Google Play Store. The XC40 Recharge also receives larger software and operating system updates over the air.
While building on the safety standards of the original XC40, Volvo Cars safety engineers have completely redesigned and reinforced the frontal structure to address the absence of an engine, meet Volvo’s high safety requirements and help keep people as safe as in any other Volvo.
The battery pack is protected by a safety cage embedded in the middle of the car’s body structure. Its placement in the floor of the car also lowers the centre of gravity of the car, for better protection against roll-overs.
Because it has no internal combustion engine, the car gives drivers even more storage space via a so-called ‘frunk’ under the front hood.
Duggan says New Zealand pricing and specification for the XC40 Recharge will be confirmed closer to the launch date.