Volvo Announces Its First All-Electric Car, and That’s Not Even the Best News

The XC40 Recharge SUV is just the start of a massive EV and hybrid push

Volvo XC40 Recharge Electric SUV
Meet Volvo's new XC40 Recharge SUV, the brand's first all-electric vehicle.
Volvo Cars
By Alex Lauer / October 18, 2019 8:02 am

Most car companies are making big promises about electrification. Cadillac said in August that its entire line would be electric within “six to 10 years.” General Motors, its parent company, and Volkswagen have both decided to invest in all-electric cars rather than hybrids. All the way back in 2017, Volvo Cars said it would sell one million electrified vehicles by 2025. But according to a new announcement, it seems that Volvo is the one really putting its money where its mouth is.

On Wednesday, Volvo unveiled the XC40 Recharge, its first fully electric car. The name may be familiar as it’s based on the gas-powered XC40 SUV already in Volvo’s lineup. The specs are good, if not segment-leading, with an all-wheel drive powertrain, an estimated range of 200 miles (though it hasn’t undergone EPA testing), 402 horsepower and fast-charging to 80% in 40 minutes. Oh, and it’s got a brand-spanking-new Android infotainment system. 

None of that, even the fact that it’s an SUV (which is sure to please the U.S. market), amounts to the most important part of this announcement. That title goes to the “Recharge” line itself. In a press release, Volvo clearly lays out the plan for its electric future, and it’s a doozy.

Here’s how it’s (supposedly) going to go down: Recharge is now the label for all chargeable Volvos (whether all-electric or plug-in hybrid). Starting in early 2020, Volvo will put the focus on those, changing its website to first ask whether you want a Recharge model or not. There are already SUV, sedan and wagon PHEVs available, and Volvo is launching a new all-electric car every year for the next five years. By 2025, it aims to have 50 percent of all sales be all-electric cars and the other 50 percent will be hybrids. 

“We have said this several times before: for Volvo Cars, the future is electric,” said CEO Håkan Samuelsson in the press release. But as we alluded to at the beginning, saying is much different than doing, especially in the fickle auto industry, and this plan puts Volvo ahead of much of the competition, at least in terms of concrete plans. 

That’s not even bringing up the topic of Polestar, Volvo’s electric performance brand that’s got its sights on Tesla. We never thought we’d say this, but Volvo might be the best brand taking on both the Big Three and the upstarts.

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