Fleet Review: Volvo XC40 Recharge

The Volvo XC40 Recharge is an all-electric, subcompact premium SUV. The 2024 model delivers up to 293 miles of range.

Photo: Chris Brown

If you talk to fleet managers who have begun electrifying their fleets, they’ll say an overlooked challenge is “change management” — gaining buy-in from drivers, office staff, and external relationships on the initiative.

Fleet managers need to fit the right EV to the duty cycle and understand how to measure and act on EV data. Drivers need to overcome the learning curve to operate the EV and how to charge at home, the depot, and in public. It’s a lot of change.

For fleets, the Volvo XC40 Recharge does not complicate this process. Rather, it facilitates the switch from internal combustion to electric propulsion. And it’s fun to drive.

The XC40 Recharge looks like its internal combustion engine counterpart, the Volvo XC40, with the same interior dimensions and outside appearance, minus exhaust pipes and air-flow front grille. Unlike some tech-heavy EV spaceships, fleet drivers can jump in the XC40 Recharge and go.

Drivers get the same premium experience they expect of a Volvo, the same focus on safety, the same Volvo fleet team touch points, and the same projected image to clients and the outside world — with an added green endorsement.

New for 2024

The Volvo XC40 Recharge is an all-electric, subcompact premium SUV. Introduced for the 2021 model year, the XC40 Recharge was Volvo’s first fully electric car.

The XC40 Recharge was previously only available as a twin-motor AWD. For the 2024 model year, Volvo introduced a single, permanent magnet electric motor that drives the rear axles, accompanied by a slightly larger 82-kWh battery pack.

The 2024 model delivers up to 293 miles of range, a meaningful increase over the 2023 twin-motor’s range of 223 miles. (The range for the twin motor is also boosted to 254 miles for the 2024 model year.)

Charging power has also improved, as the 82-kWh battery pack allows for charging at a top rate of 200 kW on a DC charger — as fast as 28 minutes from 10% to 80%.

The single-motor 2024 XC40 Recharge’s range is now above the median range of 270 miles for all available EVs. While we wait for the big battery technology breakthrough, it’s worth noting that the average range for all EVs was just 234 miles two years ago.

For fleets, the single-motor, RWD model is a sensible choice. It has the most range, yet it’s the least expensive model ($52,450 MSRP for “core”) in the XC40 Recharge lineup.

The Drive

For the first time in 25 years, Volvo is offering rear-wheel drive.

For fleets accustomed to spec’ing AWD, the car’s battery weight helps to keep traction when braking and accelerating. I drove the XC40 Recharge through a winter rainy spell in Los Angeles and always felt planted to the road. Also for 2024, Volvo re-tuned the suspension to provide a more forgiving ride over rough surfaces.

The twin motor has lightning-fast torque, but fleets don’t need that crazy power. The RWD single-motor I drove got off the line with plenty of kick and it attacked hills with confidence.

In addition to the zoom-zoom joy of EV driving, the XC40 Recharge also features one-pedal driving, a more precise way to accelerate and decelerate, and a godsend in traffic.

One-pedal driving is also a component of regenerative braking. The XC40 Recharge has three regen settings: Off, On, and Auto. Off resembles an ICE vehicle; On has a high braking effect, and Auto adjusts brake force based on the distance to the vehicle ahead.

The XC40 Recharge delivers the familiar premium Volvo interior appointments, including textile-covered seats. A 12.3-inch information display is standard.    -  Photo: Chris Brown

The XC40 Recharge delivers the familiar premium Volvo interior appointments, including textile-covered seats. A 12.3-inch information display is standard.  

Photo: Chris Brown

Tech & Safety

Volvo Car Group was the first automaker to integrate Google’s Android-based infotainment system, and the XC40 Recharge was the first Volvo car to carry the system. Volvo’s Digital Services package, free for four years, gives access to Google Assistant, in which drivers can use voice commands to set a destination, play music, control the temperature, and send messages hands-free.

It’s a handy feature that’s easy to get used to. Hands-free driving features will become more widespread, particularly with further AI integration, bringing our digital lives into our vehicles. A 12.3-inch information display is standard.

Also available is Pilot Assist, which works in tandem with adaptive cruise control to keep the XC40 Recharge in its lane.

The XC40 Recharge gets a Top Safety Pick+ commendation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the maximum five-star overall score from NHTSA.

Charging & the Future

“How will I charge?” is becoming a familiar question for fleet managers and their drivers.

When it comes to public charging, the country is divided into oases and deserts. The experience can be angsty for the uninitiated, even in EV-centric Los Angeles.

Volvo has a few ways to help: XC40 Recharge’s in-car app can navigate to all publicly available charging stations in North America, as well as start and pay for a ChargePoint charging session without a single transaction card swipe. 

Starting in 2025, Volvo’s EVs for North America will be equipped with an adaptor to connect to the North American Charging Standard (NACS) charging port used by Tesla, which allows access to Tesla’s network of 12,000 Superchargers in North America.

Volvo also worked with Starbucks to create a 1,350-mile route of Starbucks-based chargers encompassing Seattle, Boise, Salt Lake City, and Denver. Those chargers are available now. 

Successful EV implementation for fleets entails marrying drivers’ daily ranges to the EV’s max range, leaving a buffer for range-inhibiting factors. For fleet drivers able to install a home Level 2 charger, they’ll greatly minimize their need to charge their XC40 Recharge in public.

In addition to the superior driving experience of EVs, charging at home adds another substantial benefit over ICE vehicles. Who needs gas stations?


Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top