Review: 2022 Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric – Setting The Standard
Volvo Car Malaysia (VCM) has decided to close its online order for the 2022 Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric because the bookings have been ‘overwhelming’, so obviously we wanted to find out what the big fuss was all about!
Ever since the second-generation Volvo XC90 PHEV (Plug-in hybrid) arrived, Volvo has always been considered a vehicle manufacturer ahead of the curve.
Not only was it one of the first SUVs built from the ground up to support electrification (other car makers were still electrifying their cars via ICE platforms), but it was also the first PHEV to be locally assembled.
First full EV assembled in Malaysia
Well, the boys from Sweden through its proxy in Malaysia are at it again, this time giving Malaysians the first locally assembled fully electric vehicle, in the form of the adorable and popular XC40 SUV.
The XC40 Recharge Pure Electric is Volvo’s first-ever fully electric vehicle. It’s part of Volvo’s global ambition of becoming a fully electric company by 2030 and also the first car of many to feature a fully electric powertrain.
Volvo Car Malaysia (VCM) said they would be introducing an electric vehicle every year for the next five years, so the XC40 Recharge Pure Electric is an important vehicle as it is essentially a showcase of what we can expect from them over the next five years.
Currently, the XC40 range in Malaysia consists of three cars, the XC40 (ICE), XC40 Recharge Hybrid (PHEV) and the XC40 Recharge Pure Electric.
Since you have the option of pretty much all the general powertrains the world has on offer, why should you go for the fully electric XC40 over the other two? The other two sound more practical, no?
Well, there’s a case for its existence, and if used correctly, it too can be practical – even better than the other two, perhaps. So let’s get into it and see how the XC40 Recharge Pure Electric can fit into your lifestyle.
2022 Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric exterior – same same but different!
Generally, the only way you can tell the XC40 EV (electric vehicle) and its brothers apart is through its front face. While the other two have conventional grilles, the EV has a cover there instead.
This is because there’s no engine under the bonnet, so there’s no need for an air intake. At the rear, there’s also no exhaust because once again there’s no engine. Apart from a little badge on the right side of the tailgate which spells out “Recharge Twin”, everything else, including Volvo’s Recharge scripture at the C-pillars, is the same.
Those who know the XC40 very well would notice that the wheels are slightly different on the EV, as the Pure Electric XC40 comes with a staggered wheel setup. The reason for the wider wheels at the rear is pure science, as the EV needs more grip during acceleration as it can pretty much put down all of its torque in one go.
2022 Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric interior – familiarity continues inside
Just like the outside, there are no significant differences between the EV and the rest of the range. Everything from the dashboard layout to the materials used is similar. Where it differs from the rest of the lineup is through the revised 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and the 9-inch portrait infotainment system.
The EV has a model-specific meter display for the electric powertrain, and the infotainment system is built on the Android Automotive OS, providing occupants access to familiar services such as Google Maps, Google Assistant, and Google Play Store.
Courtesy of a Google-based operating software, the XC40 Recharge benefits from a Google Maps-based route planner – which includes real-time traffic info and rerouting, plus a route-based planner which alerts the driver on the state of charge and can make recommendations to nearby charging points along the route.
The Google-based system can also estimate how much charge the vehicle would need to get to your destination. This is particularly useful as you can tell how much juice you will have left after reaching your destination.
2022 Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric Powertrain – Rapid, rapid, rapid
The EV boasts a 78kWh battery embedded low within the centre of the vehicle, protected by a safety cage. The battery powers two motors at each axle for a combined power output of 408PS and 660Nm. The acceleration in the XC40 Pure Electric is manic as it can make the 0-100km/h sprint in just 4.9 seconds.
We all know by now that EVs can deliver great amounts of performance, but even by the rapid standards of electric cars, the XC40 EV is one quick machine. Its current closest competitor in Malaysia is the Mercedes-Benz EQA, and that EV can only make the 0-100km/h sprint in 8.9 seconds, which tells you a lot about how quick the XC40 EV is.
We’ve driven cars with this much power before, but the power delivery in an EV with this much power is phenomenal as the torque is instantly there as soon as you mash the accelerator pedal.
2022 Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric ride and handling – Not the best, but it’ll do
There’s not much to complain about when it comes to the XC40 EV, but its ride and handling is one area in which it doesn’t get top marks. Because it weighs over two tonnes (the battery alone weighs 500kg), it feels like a big heavy car, especially when the roads get twisty.
You can feel the weight shift around corners, and the car gets unsettled if the road is not smooth as it finds it difficult to control undulations. Speaking of smooth roads, the car behaves perfectly fine if the roads are excellent, but it does tend to feel busy if it isn’t. It almost feels like the suspension was carried over from the XC40 PHEV and that it can’t handle the extra weight.
However, you will only notice this if you’ve driven the other XC40s, so you should be fine if you haven’t.
2022 Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric charging and range – Range anxiety?
The XC40 Pure Electric can deliver up to 418km (WLTP standards) of driving range, courtesy of its 78 kWh lithium-ion battery. The battery requires around 40 minutes to juice up to 80% capacity with a 150kW DC fast charger or roughly 8-10 hours with an 11kW AC Wallbox charger.
With over 400km of range available, using it as an everyday car will not give you any sort of range anxiety. For example, when we drove the car from Bukit Damansara to Putrajaya and back (around 150km), we had plenty of juice left in the battery (over 40%/230km of range).
During that outing, we were not driving the car efficiently, but if we did, we bet we would have around 60% battery left which should mean around 300km of range.
2022 Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric conclusion – no wonder it’s sold out
In a nutshell, the XC40 Recharge Pure Electric is a great value-for-money EV. Despite its unappealing heavyweight feel, it’s still fun to drive, courtesy of the sheer explosive acceleration it can provide.
Because it’s an EV, it’s also pretty quiet on the move and presents minimal vibrations, making it a relaxing car to drive.
Treating it like a long-distance vehicle would present some challenges, but it can be managed if planned carefully. Ultimately, however, the Volvo EV is best suited as a daily driver, one that pretty much needs charging every night or every other night as you sleep to beat any form of range anxiety.
If treated this way, range anxiety should be nonexistent, even if you’ve had a long day where you’ve driven all over town.