Great Britain

Volvo XC40 Recharge is the same as its petrol twin, but way too expensive

THIS is the sort of car Boris wants families to buy in less than ten years.

An all-electric Volvo XC40 costing £59,985.

I repeat, fifty-nine thousand, nine hundred and eighty-five pounds. Excuse me while I try to stop laughing.

You could buy two petrol XC40s for that and still have nine grand spare for an Ikea kitchen.

It is literally the same car, except of course it runs on batteries so doesn’t go as far and it takes hours to recharge.

People aren’t stupid. They won’t be pushed into bankruptcy by Boris’s 2030 ban on petrol and diesel.

They’ll just buy a new motor in 2029 and run it into the ground. Ditto with plug-in hybrids before 2035.

I’ll put the same old needle on the same old record and explain, once again: We need many ducks in line before electric motoring is viable for the masses.

We need electric cars that can do 400 miles on a charge, refuel as quickly and conveniently as petrol, and cost £15k.

We need them big enough to ferry around a family of five and tow a caravan.

'Lovely way to travel'

We need rapid chargers five miles from wherever we are, not just in London or Leeds, but in Loch Lomond and Llannerch-y-medd.

I haven’t even got decent broadband.

Now, I like electric cars. Really, I do. We all want cleaner air for our kids.

I also like the XC40. So it follows that I really like this XC40 Recharge Pure Electric P8 First Edition, to give it its full Sunday name. I just don’t like the price.

Clearly, it’s strong and safe, because it’s a Volvo. It has all the driver assistance tech that’s ever been thought of.

The cabin is as quiet and as relaxing as a spa, minus the smell of eucalyptus. It’s a lovely way to travel.

It’s also very clever with an infotainment system developed by Google.

The voice-activated Google Assistant is streets ahead of anything else I’ve tried, apart from Polestar 2, obviously, because that uses the same hardware.

Also like Polestar 2, it is thoroughly modern in that it doesn’t have a start button.

A sensor in the seat detects the driver is present, you just press the brake and move the gear-lever to D and you’re away.

And also like Polestar 2, it’s got lots of punch when you’re in a hurry, sitting somewhere between a Porsche 911 and a VW Golf R.


Key facts

VOLVO XC40 RECHARGE

Price: £59,985

Battery: 78kWh

Power: 408hp, 680Nm

0-62mph: 4.9 secs

Top speed: 112mph

Range: 257 miles

CO2: 0g/km

Charging: 80% in 40 mins

Out: March

This car is 408hp, all-wheel drive and catapults from 0-62mph in 4.9 seconds. Top speed, as on all new Volvos, is limited to 112mph.

Other observations. Boot space is a little smaller than a regular XC40 but there is a front luggage compartment for storing the charging cable. The only visual difference is the covered front grille.

And the fact it doesn’t have a poo chute. On the subject of charging, the XC40 has an official range of 257 miles.

That’ll be much less in winter because batteries, like humans, hate the cold.

If you travel all over the place with work, that’s a problem. It takes just shy of eight hours for a full charge with a home wallbox, or 40 minutes for 80 per cent juice at a 150kW rapid charger, if you can find one.

Volvo will argue that cheaper, less powerful versions will follow later next year.

They will be rear-drive with less toys and the price tag will still start with a four. Better. But still way too expensive.

The new Volvo XC40 Recharge features a 'Thor's Hammer' headlight design and a 402bhp twin motor set-up

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