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First electric Volvo XC40 Recharge: an SUV like a designer couch


The electric version of the Volvo XC40 is the brand's first battery-powered car and marks a radical change: where the station wagon used to be king, Scandinavian SUV design now rules.

The first impression:

You can breathe a sigh of relief in architectural offices around the world.

Finally there is an electric SUV that fits the Scandinavian designer couch.

What the manufacturer says:

"The XC40 Recharge is a historic milestone for Volvo," says CEO Hakan Samuelsson.

"Now is the beginning of a new era in which we want to be a premium electronic brand."

They want to anticipate the CO2 limit values, but not because of the threat of fines or future approval bans for combustion engines in numerous countries.

"The premium segment will be electric in future and battery vehicles will be more profitable than combustion engines, whose share of the world market will continue to shrink," says Samuelsson with certainty.

Electrification is therefore the top priority.

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But it shouldn't do a typical Volvo station wagon, even if it would stand out refreshingly in the crowd of electric SUVs.

Instead, Volvo also relies on a city SUV.

"Volvo has long been a station wagon brand," explains Samuelsson.

Meanwhile, however, SUVs like the XC40, XC50 and XC90 accounted for 60 percent of sales.

"Today, Volvo is an SUV brand," summarizes the Volvo boss.

According to the company, the XC40 Recharge is already sold out for 2020, and the focus is now on ramping up production for 2021.

"The XC40 will be our most important electric model, next year a crossover version of the car will be added," announced the CEO.

The electric version of the large SUV XC90 will come in 2022 and in 2025, according to Samuelsson, "the proportion of battery vehicles will exceed that of plug-in hybrids at Volvo".

We noticed that:

The electric XC40 resolves a platitude that is often sought after in car tests.

It is actually a smartphone on wheels.

This has already been said about some models because they were particularly well networked or an oversized screen was emblazoned in the middle of the dashboard.

The first battery-powered Volvo can also be brought up to date like a smartphone "over the air", ie from a distance, and has many sophisticated driver assistants and of course a large display on board.

In contrast to its competitors, however, it has one key thing in common with a smartphone: operation.

The car's operating system is based on Google's Android platform, which is also found in most smartphones.

The familiar map view from Google Maps leads to the destination, the symbols on the start screen are similar to those you know from the device in your pocket, unless you prefer Apple's iOS.

As a result, the screen in the middle of the cockpit, including the home button below, actually feels like an oversized cell phone transplanted into the car.

This has practical, but also paradoxical consequences.

The surface and the map view are pleasantly tidy and the familiar menu structure allows you to reach your goal faster than with the competition, especially with the first attempts.

Functions such as the lane departure warning system can be switched on and off easily.

Doing this using the click switches known from Android phones, which are otherwise responsible for banalities such as WLAN or flight mode, is still unusual.

You have to know that:

thanks to the centrally placed battery, which also helps with sound insulation, the XC40 is extremely quiet and comfortable.

Only when driving briskly on winding country roads, the car cannot hide its weight of almost 2.2 tons.

Nevertheless, there is no unrest at any time, also because the XC40 does not emit any artificial spaceship sounds.

Instead, you can hear the soft, only remotely audible whirring of the electric motor, which still carries you away when it speeds up with increasing speed - exactly the sound you want from a Stromer.

The quiet gliding is not only pleasant, sometimes the rest is also necessary.

Range anxiety does not arise in the XC40 with a WLTP value of 400 kilometers, and the test consumption of the pre-series model of just under 20 kilowatt hours per 100 kilometers - without charging losses - speaks for an operating range of 300 to 400 kilometers.

If you want to know how far you can actually get, you need peace and quiet and should be able to do mental arithmetic.

Because the display behind the steering wheel only shows the charge level of the battery in percent and the consumption over 100 kilometers - but not how far you can get with the charge.

With this waiver, the developers wanted to free the display from unnecessary ballast and take away fear of range.

In addition, the information was too imprecise due to the different consumption levels in the city and on the Volvo motorway.

Instead, the driver should be helped by another feature: the navigation via Google Maps indicates how full the battery is likely to be at the destination of the journey - or suggests charging stops along the way if the range is too short.

And if that's not enough and customers really want the kilometer display, Volvo could in future install it as if by magic via an update.

We will not forget that:

The almost dizzying acceleration in the truest sense of the word.

Not that it comes as a surprise with 660 Newton meters of torque and a sprint value from 0 to 100 km / h of 4.9 seconds, after all, the drive train is identical to that of the sporty Polestar 2.

The start of the XC40 is impressive at every traffic light, but looks strangely out of place in this extremely quiet and comfortable car, which is limited to a top speed of 180 km / h.

However, Volvo has a solution for this: In the medium term, there should be a weaker version with a motor on the front axle.

Icon: The mirror

Source: spiegel

All tech articles on 2020-10-02

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