After what looks as if years of ready, a bevy of recent battery-electric automobiles is about to go on sale right here within the US. Ford is readying the Mustang Mach-E. Volkswagen is placing the ending touches to the ID.4. And final month in Ghent, Belgium, Volvo began manufacturing of the XC40 Recharge. It is an all-electric model of its fashionable XC40 crossover, one which shares its powertrain expertise and Android Automotive working system with the Polestar 2.

US deliveries remain a few weeks away, so a correct first drive, the place we spend a day with a brand new automotive like we did with the Polestar 2 this summer, must wait a bit longer. However earlier this week, I obtained an opportunity to spend a bit time with a pre-production instance that Volvo made obtainable to these of us who function jurors for the World Car Awards. The roads of Manassas, Virginia, have been my playground, and there was no PR minder, only a request to convey it again after an hour. Here is what I discovered.

From the surface, the XC40 Recharge seems to be lots like some other Volvo XC40—the simplest giveaway that you are looking at an all-electric model is the blanked-off entrance that does higher issues for one’s drag coefficient than an open grille. From the motive force’s seat, there are a number of extra clues. The 12.3-inch predominant instrument show has a unique theme from different Volvos, together with a gorgeous new full-screen map mode. Within the heart stack, the infotainment display screen has grown from 9 inches to 11.2 inches, and though the tile-based UI seems to be fairly just like Volvos working Sensus, it is now working Android Automotive. Google’s voice recognition means it understands many of the questions you ask it, and the Google Maps-powered navigation app is wise sufficient to know your battery state of cost so it might direct you to charging if wanted en route.

There’s additionally no begin button—like a Tesla Model 3 or Volkswagen ID.4, you simply put it in R or D after which drive off. Any doubts concerning the XC40 Recharge’s powertrain are instantly dispelled the second you do. Every axle is pushed by an equivalent 150kW (201hp), 330Nm (243lb-ft) everlasting magnet AC motor-generator unit, and the battery pack is ready to provide each of them with sufficient juice to provide the automotive all 300kW (402hp) without delay.

Really, it is the 660Nm (486lb-ft) of torque you actually discover, largely due to the immediacy with which it arrives. In actual fact, this feels just like the quickest Volvo I’ve pushed, regardless that it is a number of hundred kilos heavier than the equally highly effective plug-in hybrids from Sweden just like the S60 T8 Polestar Engineered or the XC60 T8. For the bench racers on the market, it’s going to do 0 to 60mph in 4.7 seconds, a few tenths slower than the carefully associated Polestar 2 however greater than a second and a half faster than the gasoline XC40.

You possibly can blame the battery pack for the XC40 Recharge’s 4,824lbs (2,188kg) curb weight—about 1,000lbs greater than the inner combustion model. It is a 78kWh pack, 75kWh of that are useable, built in-house using LG Chem pouch cells. The official EPA vary estimate has but to be revealed, and for now Volvo is simply saying that will probably be “200+ miles”; beneath the European WLTP testing regime it has scored at between 249 to 260 miles (400-418km). However given the preproduction nature of our take a look at automotive and the restricted time we had, I do not really feel comfy opining on the XC40 Recharge’s vary effectivity but.

I promise I did not seek out Battery Heights Blvd on purpose. But it was too good a coincidence not to stop and get a photo.
Enlarge / I promise I didn’t search out Battery Heights Blvd on goal. But it surely was too good a coincidence to not cease and get a photograph.

Jonathan Gitlin

I’m extra comfy describing the driving expertise, nevertheless. There are not any completely different drive modes, only a alternative of ahead (D) or reverse (R). Toggling one-pedal driving on or off requires taking place a few menu ranges into the automotive’s settings—if I had my druthers, I might like the power to have interaction it the identical method you’ll be able to enhance regenerative braking in plug-in hybrid Volvos by going from D to B with the transmission selector.

Regardless of its barely lardy curb weight, it rides nicely, and the suspension damps out the potholes I sought out. The low heart of gravity additionally minimizes physique roll by the corners, though the upright driving place reminds you that regardless that the XC40 Recharge is fast, it wasn’t designed with lap instances in thoughts. However for the cut-and-thrust of on a regular basis life, it ought to excel. In any case, it takes every thing we beloved concerning the gasoline XC40, then provides Nineties supercar-levels of acceleration whereas additionally easing one’s conscience about local weather change. $53,990 (earlier than the $7,500 IRS tax credit score) isn’t cheap, however I believe it is really good worth for this mixture of Swedish fashion, crossover utility, and electrical efficiency.

Itemizing picture by Jonathan Gitlin

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