Volvo's next all-electric vehicle, the C40 Recharge, is now a real thing. Today, the company's second fully electric model started production in Ghent, Belgium, doubling the number of electric vehicle (EV) models Volvo makes at the facility. The other, of course, is the XC40 Recharge. Volvo said it plans to increase EV production at the Ghent plant to 135,000 vehicles a year and that half of the vehicles it makes there will be all-electric next year. That's in line with Volvo's stated goal to sell only all-electric models by 2030, with a 50-percent target already in place for 2025. The C40 Recharge is also the first Volvo model to be completely leather-free.
"The C40 Recharge is a car that represents our future," said Javier Varela, senior vice president for industrial operations and quality at Volvo Cars. "Our Ghent plant is ready for an all-electric future and will be an important part of our global industrial network for the years to come."
With the new C40 Recharge, Volvo is also plugging into a new way of ordering a new vehicle. Available online through the company's website in "selected markets around the globe," Volvo is offering ways to design and order precisely the C40 Recharge customers want, either at home or with the help of a local retailer.
The XC40 Recharge is based on the gas-engine XC40, but the C40 Recharge is the first Volvo designed from the ground up as an electric model. It has a high ride height like a CUV (something that Volvo knows its customers enjoy), but it is not quite as tall as other SUVs, thanks to a sloped rear roof that offers a panoramic glass option. Volvo says the new front-end design represents the new face of the next generation of electric Volvos, including the "state-of-the-art pixel technology" in the headlights.
The C40 Recharge also comes with a new Android-based infotainment system that Volvo developed in partnership with Google. That means several familiar services, including the voice-activated Google Assistant, Google Maps, and Google Play are all on board.
The electric powertrain in the C40 Recharge uses a 78-kWh battery and two motors—one on each axle—and should provide a range of more than 270 miles using Europe's WLTP driving cycle. Pricing for the C40 Recharge is still not known, but we suspect it will be a bit more than the XC40 Recharge, which costs $53,990 before taxes and incentives. The C40 Recharge is expected to go on sale in early 2022.