2022 Volvo C40 Recharge Review

2022 Volvo C40 Recharge - All-new Volvo EV goes leather-less


Volvo continues its electrification charge with the compact 2022 C40 Recharge Twin, an all-electric EV never requiring a drop of petrol gas, instead relying upon the electric grid as an energy source.  

Earlier in the year, Volvo dropped off a similar-looking 2022 XC40 Recharge Twin for testing.  Both utilize a popular five-door body style and share a similar uncluttered interior layout, pleasant seating position and largely unseen electrified underpinnings.    Think of the pair as fraternal, not identical twins. As of the 2022 calendar year, these brothers represent the Volvo-brands sole all-electric vehicles available for sale in the U.S.

The C40 Recharge Twin is all-new for the 2022 model year while XC40 debuted one year earlier in the 2021 model year.  Visually, the 2022 C40 boasts a lower slung roofline targeting a coupe-like design/look, albeit with four side doors and a rear hatch. The C40 also measures 2.5-inches shorter than the XC40.

Another shared similarity involves the marketing of these two all-electric crossovers. As of this writing, both must be ordered online rather than directly from the dealership.

When ordering a C40 EV online the process is simplified since only one well-equipped trim level is available.  This differs from the CX40 where Base and Plus trims are available.  One of the few decisions C40 buyers must ponder is the exterior color scheme (note: the roof and front A pillars arrive stock black). Base price for our 2022 tester listed at $58,750 with a $60,540 bottom line after adding $695 for the exterior metallic paint and $1,095 for destination charge.

On average, the C40 ups pricing about $6,000 when comparted to its XC40 fraternal twin.  The upscale Volvo badging also prices the C40 above mainstream all-electric choices including Volkswagen’s all-wheel drive ID.4 EV and the Hyundai Ioniq. 

In Volvo marketing speak, both C and XC lettered prefixes designate crossover body styles with S denoting sedan and V wagons (or Versatility). The numerical suffix conforms to size, with smaller numbers (40) representing compact offerings while 90 denotes larger, full-sized frames.  Another differentiator between C and XC:  the XC is available in a gas-electric hybrid and traditional internal combustion engine formats, the C is all electric all the time.  

The C40 Recharge EV comes with two electric motors, one powering the front axle and the other the rear axle, thus the ‘Twin’ naming designate.  In effect this Volvo is an all-wheel drive platform, ideal for dealing with Chicago’s four-seasons. Not all EVs utilize the two-motor format instead relying upon just one to deliver either a front or rear drive format. Volvo’s all-wheel drive power splits evenly 50/50 front to rear.  The sizeable, rechargeable 78 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack stows under floor and out of sight.

Each electric motor generates 150 kilowatts for an ample 300-kilowatt total equaling approximately 400 traditional horsepower.  Internal combustion engines delivering 400 horsepower usually associate with power products packing V-8s under hood.

Volvo places the CCS (Combined Charging Standard) plug receptacle on the driver’s side rear fender area behind a small square hinged door resembling a familiar gas tank lead of old.  The CCS remains the most common and popular hook up among non-Tesla vehicles.  Tesla designed its own unique port commonly referred to as the ‘Tesla Plug.’  

The sleek, gently sloping roof line morphs into the backside hatch trimmed with LED lighting, springing to life with animation-like movements when locking and unlocking from the key fob.  Similar light dancing occurs upfront with the side-sitting, Thor-hammer-like T-shaped front lighting.  The T-lighting is a gentle nod to Thor, the Nordic God of thunder and Volvo, the Nordic car of Sweden.

The C40, as with its XC40 doppelganger and most EVs, includes a one-pedal drive mode, summoned in this case through the multifunctional center touch screen.  When enacted, the gas pedal offers extra resistance by up-tuning regenerative braking technology (repurposing kinetic energy into electric energy through captured friction and returning this energy into the battery).  Lift the right foot off the accelerator and the added friction resistance coasts the vehicle to a halt in relative quick fashion during stop-and-go traffic. It’s easy to master and during traffic-snarled commutes, eases knee and foot fatigue.  In case anyone asked, yes, this system works when in reverse, too.

Other nuances those new to pure EV travel may find of interest:  eerie quiet startups.  No engine rumble, just a gentle audible blip every couple of seconds when rolling in reverse.  Stomp on the accelerator pedal and experience instant torque and zero to 60 in under five seconds, qualifying this effort as one of the quickest Volvo in the brand’s history. No issues when merging into traffic with this much low-end torque ready at a moment’s notice.  

Another EV nuance specific to the C40 and XC40 concerns the electronic start technology and lack of a traditional push start-stop button.  Just get in and go as the vehicle senses driver weight in the bucket seat (a bum start as the Brits might say).  Then, simply push the brake pedal and tap the electronic shifter (right of the driver’s Bum Bucket) to send the single speed automatic transmission into reverse or forward.  The electronic key fob must be on person for all this to take place.

Just about all EVs come with a long wall socket charging cord with a three-prong end interacting with common 120-volt household current (known as Level One) delivering 1.2 kilowatts when it’s time to refill with electrons.  Volvo stows its power cord inside the ‘Frunk’ region, a new word to the English lexicon combining both ‘Truck’ and ‘Front’.  Since an internal combustion engine is nowhere in sight, storage volume increases under the front hood.

Charging a spent battery utilizing Level One (also known as a trickle charger due to comparably slow charging speeds) takes in the neighborhood of 60 hours based on an average of 4 miles of driving range per hour of plug time.  Most EV owners with garage access invest in a Level 2 wall charger.

Level 2 Chargers pull 240 volts (40 amps), and power larger household variables such as HVAC units and washer/dryers.  On average Level 2 delivers 7.6 kw and 32 miles of driving range per plug hour.  It takes approximately 8 hours of plug time to fill up C40 Recharge utilizing Level Two chargers.  Installation pricing varies depending upon rebates and offers, but fall into the $600-$1,300 range.

Pricing of a Level One or Level Two charge roughly breaks down to about .03 cents per electric mile, so fully charging a 225-mile range would cost approximately $7.65. Household electric rates dip at night, a prime time to plug-in while both car and driver snooze.  

Utilizing a commercially available DC fast chargers sprouting up along Interstate bypasses the on-board vehicle AC-DC converter and delvers one-directional Direct Current into the lithium-ion battery pack. When powering up with a commercially available DC fast charger, Volvo estimates 80 percent of the lithium-ion battery pack can charge up from a depleted state in less than an hour.  Bring a credit card since driver’s pay more for this faster privilege as compared when powering up at home.

Both Volvo’s C40 and XC40 absorb Direct Current energy at speeds up to 150 kilowatts.  This top limit (150 kilowatts) differs among available EV vehicles and rates average in 2022.  When fully charged, expect a usable range of 225 electric miles.  This checks in slightly under the current industry average of about 250 miles.  

While many interior similarities exist with its fraternal XC40 twin, C40 offers one notable distinction.  It’s the first Volvo served up completely leather-free.  Rather than an endless selection of leather and leather-related surfaces, C40 pushes forth with high-quality sustainable materials produced from bio-based and recycled sources.  Volvo created its own material, coined ‘Nordico,’ consisting of textiles created from recycled PET bottles and recycled wine industry corks.  After sampling the new-age comfy and supportive surfaces, leather was never missed.  Two riders enjoy this new seating sensation with optimal comfort when ensconced in row two.  Three would be a crowd within this compact offering.

The C40 borrows a familiar, clean, elegant dashboard layout found in many other Volvos, EV and ICE (Internal Combustion Engine). A multitude of dials and buttons get replaced by a prominent nine-inch portrait style multi-function touch screen. Dual-zone climate controls largely run through this screen, although constant icons along the screen bottom offer a visual cue and a row of push buttons outside and below the vertical screen include defrosting options.  

In the center of the button row is a large twist dial serving as a volume control for audio functions also served up via the touch screen. Android Auto Smartphone interplay comes standard while Apple Car Play compatibility is not on board yet but is rumored for incorporation in the not-so-distant future. Wireless Smartphone charging comes standard.

Long, jewel-like vertical air vents frame the screen’s side and corner each end of the dash.  Four side doors and accompanying glass windows provide good perceptions for drivers, but the slopped hatch glass creates a narrow sight band when peering through the rear-view mirror with headlights from behind disappearing from perception at times.  

The fully animated 12.3-inch progressive digital instrument panel includes two selectable center modes including a secondary feed of the in-house navigation. Modes select from a button on the three-spoke steering wheel face.

The recently passed (in August of 2022) Federal legislation involving the sweeping Inflation Reduction Act includes a tax credit largely impacting EV sales and the EV community at large.  As with any new legislation the devil is in the details and this one includes many moving parts.  Not all newly purchased 2022 EVs qualify for the Federal Government’s tax credit redeemable when filling annual income tax forms. A $7,500 credit only applies to electric vehicles assembled in the United States.  Currently, Volvo assembles C40 and XC40 EVs in Europe (Ghent, Belgium), so the sizeable tax credit would not apply.  

Volvo opened an expansive assembly facility outside Charleston, South Carolina four years ago where it currently builds the S60 mid-size sedan in both gas-powered and gas-electric hybrid versions.  Volvo announced in 2021 that this facility will pivot to electric vehicle production with the assembly of the next-generation all-electric XC90 crossover, allowing the company to better leverage the emerging U.S. EV market.

The campus is adding a battery assembly annex benefiting future purchases.  Electric vehicle batteries assembled and sourced in the U.S. qualify for a portion of the new tax credit beginning in the 2023 calendar year.

Volvo and Electrify America, a major builder of EV charging stations, announced a sweet deal in 2021 regarding Level 2 and DC fast charging.  All Volvo EV purchasers are provided with 250 kilowatt hours of complementary charging at any Electrify American Network charging location across Chicagoland and the country redeemable during the first three years of ownership.  What’s the result of 250 kilowatt hours of complimentary charging?  Approximately 1,000 miles of driving range.  

2022 Volvo C40 Recharge
Price as tested:  $60,540
Battery size:   78.0 kilowatts
Battery type:  liquid cooled lithium-ion
Horsepower:  402
Electric range: 226 miles
Wheelbase: 106.4 inches
Overall Length: 174.8 inches
Overall Width: 73.7 inches
Overall Height: 62.8 inches
Curb Weight: 4,736 pounds
Battery warranty: Eight years/100,000 miles
Assembly: Ghent, Belgium

Dave Boe

Dave Boe, a lifetime Chicago area resident, worked at the Daily Herald, Illinois' third-largest daily newspaper, for 24 years. In 1989, the Daily Herald began a weekly Saturday Auto Section and he was shortly appointed editor. The product quickly grew into one of the largest weekend sections in the paper thanks to his locally-written auto reviews, the introduction of a local automotive question-and-answer column, a new colorful format and news happenings from Chicago area new-car dealerships.

Five years later, a second weekly auto section debuted on Mondays with Boe adding an industry insight column and introducing a "Love Affair with Your Car" column where readers sent in their own automotive memories for publication. During the next 10 years, the number of weekly auto sections Boe edited and coordinated grew to five and featured expanded NASCAR racing coverage, a dealer spotlight/profile feature and a Car Club Calendar where grass-roots automobile clubs could publish upcoming events for free. Boe also introduced more local automotive columnists into the pages of the sections, all of whom were seasoned members of the well respected Midwest Automotive Media Association. In 1997, Boe earned the Employee of the Year award from the Daily Herald.

Boe is a founding member and current president of the Midwest Automotive Media Association. He has degrees in Journalism and Business Administration from Northern Illinois University.