Budget change means new EV version of popular compact SUV won't qualify for the UK plug-in car grant
James Attwood, digital editor
13 March 2020

Volvo's first battery electric vehicle, the XC40 P8 Recharge, will go on sale in the UK from £53,155.

Available exclusively in R-Dynamic trim, the compact SUV has a 402bhp twin motor set-up and a claimed range of more than 248 miles.

However, changes made in the Government's new budget earlier this week means it will no longer be eligible for the UK plug-in car grant.

The new policy excludes all cars costing more than £50,000 from the grant. They no longer incur the premium rate tax, meaning drivers will save £320 per year for five years after the initial year of registration, but that still leaves buyers £1900 worse off than with the old system.

The new EV will join the petrol and plug-in hybrid variants of the XC40 when it goes on sale later this year. 

The XC40 P8 Recharge will be the first of five fully electric models that Volvo will launch in the next five years, with the firm aiming for EVs to account for half of its global sales by 2025, the rest featuring a hybrid powertrain. Those five electric cars, along with plug-in hybrid models, will carry the new Recharge branding.

Volvo has also outlined plans to reduce its lifecycle carbon footprint per vehicle by 40% by 2025, as part of a long-term goal to become climate-neutral by 2040.

Volvo launches Recharge electrified brand, sets bold carbon emission targets

The four-wheel-drive XC40 P8 Recharge features two 201bhp electric motors, one mounted on each axle, that combine to offer 402bhp and 487lb ft of torque. That enables it to achieve 0-62mph in 4.9sec and a limited top speed of 112mph.

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Power is drawn from a 78kWh underfloor battery, with Volvo citing a WLTP-certified range of more than 248 miles. Charging is available through an 11kW AC charger or a 150kW DC fast-charger, which the firm says can deliver an 80% charge in 40 minutes.

The vehicle largely retains the exterior and interior styling of the conventional XC40, albeit with the addition of a new sealed fascia in place of the traditional radiator grille for the combustion engine. The model also gets Recharge branding and other minor design tweaks, while the charging port is located on the rear pillar of the car in the same place as a traditional petrol cap.

Built on the same Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) platform as the regular XC40, the Recharge version retains largely the same dimensions with a length of 4425mm and a width of 2034mm. Because of the underfloor batteries, the XC40 Recharge has a slightly reduced ground clearance of 175mm, compared to 211mm on the regular model.

The XC40 Recharge offers 413 litres of luggage capacity, a reduction of 460 litres for the regular model although, due to the space saved by the lack of a combustion engine, it gains a 31-litre ‘frunk’ storage area underneath the bonnet. The machine weighs a minimum of 2150kg, compared to 1497kg for the combustion-engined version.

The XC40 Recharge is also the first Volvo to feature a new infotainment system powered by the Google Android operating system. That system features Volvo On Call, the firm’s digital platform.

The initial price of the XC40 Recharge is similar to that of the closely related Polestar 2, the first electric model from Volvo’s spin-off performance brand. That model, which features the same electric powertrain - and identical power, torque output and range - costs £49,900 in its initial Launch Edition. Planned base models are likely to cost around £34,500.

To accompany the launch of the XC40 Recharge, Volvo is also revamping its sales process. From early next year, customers visiting its website will be asked first if they want an electrified car, and a range of financial incentives designed to encourage efficient electric driving will also be offered.

With Volvo aiming for plug-in hybrids to account for a fifth of its total sales next year, the firm is planning to triple production capacity for its electrified models, including the XC40 Recharge. It will also offer a new Designer’s Choice selection for Recharge models, which it says will feature “radically reduced delivery times”.

Read more

Volvo launches Recharge electrified brand, sets bold carbon emission targets

New Polestar 2 to cost from £49,900

Volvo reveals plug-in hybrid version of XC40

Join the debate


16 October 2019

A car that I find very very tempting....

16 October 2019

so it'll be interesting to hear how it drives.

16 October 2019

I apologise for what some of you may think a stupid comment, but does a medium family crossover need to have over 400bhp; nearly every new EV seems to be excessively powerful - does every car really need to do 0-60 in less than 7 seconds?

16 October 2019
It has a frunk yessss

16 October 2019

The apparently excess performance of many EV's is a consequence of the battery size. You need a battery of a certain capacity to give you range, and with that comes the instantaneous current delivery and hence performance, the actual motors are not the issue. It's a bit like if a petrol car's performance was dictated by the size of its fuel tank rather than its engine!

The flip side of that is that massively fast EV's automatically have better rangem hence why the new tesla Roadster is claimed to have a massive range, it was not a primary goal but rather a consequence of the battery needed to deliver the desired acceleration.

The other thing about EV's is that there really is no way to engineer a light pure EV with present battery technology and so they are all heavy and the tendancy is to counter this weight with increased power by adding yet more batteries, a sort of never ending spiral power arms race. Hence all of the supercar EV's are heavy and massivley powerful (compare this with the previous ICE supercars that were primarily light; think F40 etc.)


Maybe performance cars will segment into massive, heavy hypercars (Rimac, Lotus etc), wildly fast performance saloons and coupes (Taycan, Tesla Model 3) and lightweight petrol drivers cars (Caterham, Lotus Exige, Alpine etc)

It's hard to see where traditional supercars (488/ 911 etc) fit into this scheme as modern supercars are neither light enough to outdrive an Exige, nor powerful enough to beat the new era of performance saloons/ coupes (Taycan).


16 October 2019

I hope you’re already a jurno - because if not Autocar need to hire you. A much more insightful few paras than the article itself. 

16 October 2019

And thank you for your analysis which is largely correct.

I would, however, point out that at less than 1300kg the BMW i3 proves that with a dedicated platform, rather than an electric version of a combustion car, it is possible to get reasonable range without gargantuan proportions.


16 October 2019

Great comments Robbo and rkanaga.

For me the most disappointing thing about the current generation of EVs is the weight. I suspect in a few short years they will look like dinosaurs (just a different species to the older, ICE-powered types).

There was a recent article about the JLR SVO team making the I-Pace faster - I'd rather they came up with clever ways to make it much lighter and designed higher density batteries so it had better range. By virtue of which, it would be faster too. Colin Chapman would like that too.


16 October 2019

.....that rkanaga, because like Windy 57,  I have been pondering the need for overpowered electric cars for a while.

To my non scientific mind 200bhp would be more than enough....thereby doubling range!

Crazy acceleration times arent smart or needed, and if we are supposed to be green in our day to day lives high power EV's will increase tyre and brake degradation...(both polluters) and increase road surface wear rates into the deal. The weight of this thing is ridiculous compared to the ICE version, clearly a law of diminishing returns, and of course again increasing Tyre and brake wear, plus need to recharge.



Clearly wrong!


16 October 2019

Recharge? That's a terrible name to give to an electric car. All it will do is remind people that it needs recharging. Range anxiety built right in.  

I don't understand this compulsion by some car manufacturers to apply a vaguely, or not so vaguely, "electrical" or physics based name - or sub-name - to their electrified cars, or even something to bolster "green" credentials. Just stupid.  


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