In-house developed e-motor gives Volvo XC40 and C40 a 34% range boost

In the second year of the C40 Recharge’s existence, Volvo created a brand-new, compact e-motor for it… and we saw that it was good. Developed in-house in Sweden, it makes its entry in the new rear-wheel drive 2024 versions of the XC40 and C40 Recharge, both manufactured in Ghent, Belgium. got the opportunity to drive them in Volvo’s home base, Gothenburg.

The 185 kW (248 hp) permanent magnet e-motor weighs only 95 kg compared to an average of +250 kilograms of a combustion engine. It allows for a slightly bigger battery pack of  82kWh instead of the former 75 kWh, stretching the range to 572 km for the XC40 Single Motor Extended Range and 581 km for the C40. That’s a 34,5%  improvement for the same price.

Happy with less energy

More importantly, the C40, for instance, proved on Swedish roads to be happy with under 16 kWh per 100 km instead of the +20 kWh we experienced with the dual motor of its predecessor and the 18 kWh of the former FWD version we drove in October last year.

Back then, we wrote the car consumed 20,7 kWh on average, but we saw it peaking at 27 kWh or more on highways regularly without flirting with the speed limits. Driving the 2024 Recharge Twin versions with dual motor and AWD, we didn’t manage to get it below 20 kWh per 100 km.

Race driver aspirations

Volvo replaced the former 150 kW on the rear axle with the new one, beefed up to 190 kW in this case, and a new synchronized 110 kW electromotor in front. The latter rotates freely unless extra power is needed. It’s still a high premium to pay for 340 kW or 455 horses under your right foot, which might prickle your aspirations as a race driver, but you don’t really need as a good family man.

Honestly, the 248 hp of the new rear-wheel drive is more than sufficient. With 7,4 seconds to reach 100 km per hour instead of the 4,9 seconds in the Twin version, you won’t get off to a bad start.

Keeping it as simple as possible

Both the C40 and XC40 with this new engine react swiftly and better than any average ICE family car, which Volvo has proven to be by excellence in its entire history. Contrary to most other EVs, there is no switch or button to shift from ‘normal’ to ‘eco’ or ‘sports’ mode.

A deliberate choice, a Volvo engineer tells us, to keep the user interface as simple as possible. But on the touchscreen menu, though, the option for a ‘Range Assistant’ to help you master energy usage and optimize the driving range is still there.

Faster charging

Another improvement we couldn’t test in the short time available, but we take Volvo’s word for gospel truth, is fast DC-charging capabilities of up to 200 kW with the uprated 82 kWh battery pack. Charging the car from 10-80 percent state-of-charge should take no more than 28 minutes approximately.

Back in October, we were less happy with the integral Google interface Volvo embraced in an attempt to make the smartphone superfluously in the car. Also, in the idea to keep things simple, we guess. Seeing Waze introduced and the comeback of Apple CarPlay on the touch screen was applauded. Although the standard Google navigation is among the better, some might prefer more options with TomTom or others, for instance.

Stop and go

Yet another change in fine-tuning is the one-pedal drive option that brakes the car automatically to a certain extent when getting your foot off the throttle. Instead of falling back to a creeping speed of 7 km/h as in the 2023 models, the car now comes to a complete stop when using the adaptive cruise control in a traffic jam, for instance. And it will restart automatically when the vehicle in front of you starts moving again—a nice feature.

As we wrote back then, you get a lot of car for your money, exciting and comfortable. That definitely remains the same with the rear-wheel version. But it doesn’t come cheap, at €53 950 for the Core version with the standard range and €2 000 more for the extended range. The XC40 Recharge starts slightly lower at €52 450 and €54 450.

The Volvo C40 and XC40 Recharge Twin Plus models are at the very top of the Recharge range. Those will cost you €63 800 and €62 300 respectively, but always with extended range battery included. Production of the Twin Plus versions is to start in Ghent in May, and the rear-wheel drive versions in autumn 2023.

With the new e-engine at the back of the C40 Recharge, Volvo is returning to rear-wheel drive after 25 years /NMN



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