Is electricity strange?  –

Is electricity strange? –

Visionary, Volvo has for years started distributing its electric models. First by connecting hybrid engines to all its models and then by launching in 2021, the XC40 Recharge Twin, a 100% electric version of the small Scandinavian SUV. This year, a second model joins the list, the Volvo C40 which shares many features with its counterpart. With one difference, however, this coupe SUV will only be offered in electric mode. To discover in more detail through our Volvo C40 Renewal test.

C as cut…

From the front, the relationship with the XC40 Recharge is unmistakable, even if connoisseurs will notice a slight difference. Starting with slightly redesigned headlights. The lower part of the shield has also undergone some changes to the level of the fog lights and more taut lines for more changes. The full grille betrays the electric motor, as do the 20-inch rims and their aerodynamic design, which however look very small in profile, lost in these large wheel arches. The hood also looks big, the feeling that we get once it is placed on the wheel.

The back is sloping and the chest line is relatively high. The headlight design seems more at odds with the rest of Volvo’s lineup, even if the light signature is similar to that of the brand’s sedans, the S60 and V60.

Finally, this Volvo C40 thus has its own personality and uncompromising appearance in the French automotive landscape where coupe SUVs are still rare. Some will appreciate this touch of originality while others will see in these raised sedans a new twist.

Is the light right? So the 90s!

It must be noted that at approximately 2.2 tons on the scale (including 500 kg of battery), the C40 is not the lightest on the market. However, it can rely on these two engines, one on each axle to ensure acceleration that would make many sportsmen blush (and astonish over-confident German diesel SUV drivers out of the toll…).

408hp, 0-100 in less than 5s, 660Nm of torque is immediately available, pressing the right pedal can instantly glue you to the seat and bring you to an unhealthy speed in less time than it takes to realize! But rest assured, past the surprise of the first acceleration, the power of this C40 has forgotten to keep only the smooth driving of the electric car. No vibrations, silence everywhere, except sometimes a few rolling noises depending on road conditions and/or speed (more than 100 km/h), reminding you that you are in a car. Despite its 20-inch rims and all-season Pirelli Scorpion tires, minor imperfections are overlooked.

A familiar but more environmentally friendly interior

The opportunity to enjoy your favorite playlist on the signature Harman Kardon audio system, while comfortably seated in the Connect sports seats in ” partially updated suede, finished with different reinforcements and embedded in Microtech, a high-quality synthetic material of rare civilization. » (option for 1800 €). Because yes, don’t look for leather trim, the C40 being a reflection of Volvo’s commitment to the environment, there is no natural animal skin in its cabin.

In addition to these details, the usual brand will be on familiar ground, the interior is consistent with other models. Volvo, however, has made minor changes, especially in terms of on-board equipment. The main counter shows a presentation designed to provide information specific to the electric vehicle, especially the power meter and the energy gained during the braking or deceleration phases.

In this lesson, the C40 can be driven with “one pedal”, that is, it becomes useless to use the brakes, except in the event of the unexpected. Everything depends on the pressure applied to the accelerator. Unlike other manufacturers, Volvo does not offer any adjustments to measure the braking force. A little confusing at first glance, it only takes a few kilometers to get your bearings and master this “one pedal” mode. Testing it is to pass it, but if not, it is possible to turn it off via the main screen.

Regarding the end, at first glance there is no change but in fact, it hides the difference in size. Exit the Volvo system, install Android Automotive. In use, two different sizes. The first route planning through Google Maps and the necessary charge optimization to reach your destination without running out of battery power. If no route is entered, it is possible to use the navigation system to find nearby charging stations (and filter them according to the power/type of socket provided and/or the desired charging network).

If the system finds accountability, it has a major flaw, the lack of Car Play support. At least for now, Volvo has hinted at its upcoming arrival via an update.

The last little feature of this Volvo C40 Recharge, its Fjord Blue interior (more finishes are available, don’t worry) related to ” High quality lighting fixtures » present on the dashboard on the passenger side and as an entry on the front door panel. It is actually a design inspired by ” of the topography of the Abisko mountain region in northern Sweden which lights up at night. What brings a touch of brightness and originality without falling into the simplicity of multi-colored LEDs.

Volvo has lived up to its trademark with a functional and welcoming interior. The C40 Recharge is an unsurprising part of that tradition. The rear seats seem at first glance to be narrower but finally, when installed, two 1m80 adults will feel comfortable there despite the curved roof. We welcome in passing the welcome contribution of a glazed roof to compensate for the reduced glass surfaces to the minimum rear level. On the other hand, with rear vision, the driver will change blindly. Therefore, choosing a 360 ° camera system is important. However, the latter deserve a bit of refinement to stick more closely to the services expected on a Premium SUV.

As for the trunk, it is placed in the lower average of the category with only 410l of volume, that is 30l less than the XC40 which shares the same platform and shows the same height (4.44m). And with the direction of the tail associated with the hardboard, it is not visible in its daily actions. Fortunately, 30l of space up front means the trunk isn’t cluttered with charging cables.

Freedom, the tree that hides the forest?

The transition has all been achieved to evoke the point that lights up debates when one imagines the electric car: freedom. Approved for 440 km in the WLTP cycle, the C40 Recharge Twin is actually close to 370 km, at least in this month of February with temperatures between 0 and 10°C (with active air conditioning and even heated seats and steering wheel). On average, we measured consumption around 25 kWh even if, somehow, we managed to go down to 21 kWh.

Freedom that may seem low but, like a smartphone, since it can last all day without problems, is it important to have more freedom? After a few days spent in the company C40 the same conclusion to stand out. Liberty is sufficient for daily commutes for most potential buyers. Get in the habit of plugging in at night to get 80% of the batteries charged the next morning with the wall box. At a regular household store, count thirty good hours for a full charge.

On a widespread 22 Kw terminal, 2h15 of charging saves 30% of the battery.

On the other hand, the problem seems to be more at the level of payment infrastructure. Between the out-of-service stations, those taken by internal combustion vehicles (very happy to find an empty space, etc.) or the absence of fast stations outside the motorways, recharging can quickly turn into a nightmare. At this point, not an extra 100 or 150 kilometers can change the situation.

The Volvo C40 accepts a maximum load of 150 Kw through its CSS comb slot and thus can recover 80% of the battery capacity in 40 minutes.

On the other hand, the richest mesh in the stations, providing a charging power of at least 50 kWh, yes. All it takes is a short trip to Normandy to see that while the region has handled the area well, it certainly has unexpected needs. In most cases, only one Type 2 – 22 Kw socket per terminal is available. Once the car is already plugged in, you’re only left with the internal socket as an alternative. A constant situation according to our experience after the closure of several tests of hybrid and electric vehicles … And it is without counting the problems of the isolation of certain stations forced to increase the registration or more or less difficult taxes according to partner networks .

During the restrictions imposed on manufacturers whose purpose is to push buyers to choose hybrid or electric engines, the issue of charging stations seems to be very basic although it should be a priority of public authorities …

Our opinion on the Volvo C40 Regeneration Twin

At the end of these few days spent with the C40, the first Scandinavian coupe SUV turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Let’s leave aside the submissiveness of his image to focus on the important, his everyday humility. Special mention in this regard to the automatic start / stop where you just have to sit down, press the brake and then put the lever in Drive to keep the wheels in motion.

“One Pedal” needs a few kilometers to get its bearings, but after this little adjustment period, these small changes are a real treat. No more need to touch the brakes equals the comfort achieved by switching from a mechanical box to an automatic gearbox. Of course, using a sports car – and 408 hp and a very low center of gravity can be a motivation for crime – the correct pedal is again important, but is it not against nature in the car?

We’d be tempted to answer in the affirmative and add that we’re looking forward to testing the single-engine C40 Recharge available in the coming weeks. Such freedom, with its price starting at €44,500 compared to €54,700 for the C40 Recharge Twin (but with higher equipment, will also be eligible for an ecological bonus of €6,000. make the C40 more attractive.

At the same time, Volvo has an additional model to prove its versatility shown in 2021. The Scandinavian brand is also putting one more stone to complete its roadmap aimed at the full electrification of its range before 2030.