New Recharge attractive, modern

Volvo C40 an all-electric SUV.

Electric vehicles. Two words spark such discussion nowadays within the automotive industry. It’s an area I get asked a lot of questions about. Some of the questions are good ones (range, infrastructure, how charging works) and some are silly based on urban myths (like can you take an EV into a car wash). This past year I’ve been fortunate enough to drive a fair share of EVs, including my tester this week.

This week’s tester comes with an interesting back story that also shows where the average American consumer might be on the skeptical scale. This week I’m driving the 2022 Volvo C40 Recharge, which is an all-electric SUV.

My test vehicles are delivered to me every week by a fleet company in the Detroit, MI area. It’s about a four-hour drive straight down I-75 to get to my house (around 250 miles each way). For the fleet driver, who has made that drive every week, it took nearly 10 hours when you factor in charge time to bring the C40 to me. He normally arrives to my house around 10 a.m. but didn’t pull into my driveway until nearly 5 p.m.

This isn’t to say that EVs are irrelevant or impractical, but merely points out the one major hurdle that still stands in the way, even in urban areas like the I-75 corridor. Charging times are still long, as opposed to minutes to refuel. So longer trips become even longer. Frustrations mount.

With that said, the Volvo C40 Recharge has an ironic name (recharge) because that’s what you will be doing for longer trips as the EPA range is 226 miles, which is far below that of the Tesla Model X and Model Y vehicles, the Mustang Mach-E and the BMW iX.

Volvo claims it takes about 37 minutes to charge the C40 back to about 80% capacity on quick charge stations. Note: Most EVs are recommended to maintain 80% battery capacity max as going from 80 to 100% takes extraordinarily longer. As such, any consumer would need a Level 2/240-volt home charging unit to fully utilize the C40′s range. And even so, it would take about eight hours of charging to get a full battery charge (using a standard 110 outlet it could take up to 72 hours for a full charge). This averages to about 25 miles of range for every hour of home charging. Fast-charging units, available throughout the U.S. go much quicker (thus the 37-minutes).

As far as looks, the C40 Recharge is attractive and modern. Like most EVs, there is no open grille (no need for a radiator cooling). With that typical EV grille, it offers a glimpse of what car design will look like in the future. The C40 has a squatty stance, and a stubby back side with the rear door handle sitting over the back wheel well.

This design, though attractive, does inhibit the interior space (especially for rear passengers) and the overall cargo room.

Volvo has done a great job through the years of maintaining a luxury interior full of distinction. The C40 holds true to that with an interior that is full of personality. But unlike some other EVs, there’s nothing too quirky or out of the ordinary about the interior, as it feels like most other Volvo vehicles, which is a good thing. A panoramic laminated fixed glass roof adds ambiance and a feeling of openness to the interior. A dark tint on the glass roof helps keep the UV invasion to a minimum while still offering plenty of lighting.

Volvo’s infotainment system continues to confound and needs to be simplified. The 9-inch touchscreen integrates with smartphones and there’s a subscription-based service with Google offering many additional services.

Behind the second-row of seats there’s 17.3 cubic feet of cargo room. The seats can fold down to offer up to 48.7 cubic feet of space.

As an EV the Volvo C40 Recharge has two electric motors powered by a 78-kWh lithium-ion battery. It has all-wheel drive (AWD) and a single-speed transmission. All told, the C40 has 402 horsepower and 487 pound-feet of torque. Like most EVs, the torque is instant and exhilarating. And unlike an EV like the VW ID4, the C40 offers one-pedal driving.

This allows for accelerating and stopping/slowing by applying various pressure to the accelerator. This takes a little practice to master, but can help extend the range (by staying off the brake) and also makes for a more engaged driving experience.

There is only one “trim” offered for the C40, but there are special packages that can be added. Base price is $58,750. My tester had a special metallic paint and that plus a destination charge had the final MSRP at $60,450.

Is America ready for EVs? I think we are still at the early adaptor stage. For those who are ready to no longer put expensive fuel into their vehicle, there are becoming more and more choices. With the brand new C40 Recharge Volvo offers up an electric SUV that is best suited for city driving as a low-mileage, daily driver, rather than a family road trip vehicle.

Jimmy Dinsmore is a freelance automotive journalist. Email him at jimmydinsmore73@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @driversside

2022 Volvo C40 Recharge

Price/As tested price................................................ $58,750/$60,540

Range.......................................... 226 miles

Motor............................................. 78 kWh lithium-ion

Horsepower................................. 402 hp/486 lbs./ft.

Transmission................................. Single-speed

Drive Wheels................ All-wheel drive

Final Assembly Point................ Ghent, Belgium

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