2022 Volvo XC40 Recharge Twin Review

2022 Volvo XC40 Recharge Twin - Volvo's first all-electric EV lights up the road

By:

Swedish luxury automaker Volvo steered headlong into its promised Electric Vehicle future with the introduction of the much-hyped XC40 Recharge Twin introduced in the 2021 model year.  It borrows visually from the gasoline powered five-door XC40 crossover. Size wise, it’s the automaker’s smallest five-door crossover measuring somewhere between a roomy subcompact or tightly-wound compact.

Volvo markets two additional gas-powered crossovers, the mid-size XC60 and even larger XC90, but neither currently boast an all-electric EV counterpart.  

Looking at the handsome XC40 Recharge Twin at a glance, one would be hard pressed to distinguish it as an all-electric vehicle save for the “Recharge Twin” badging found on the lower hatch.  To the untrained eye, it’s virtually identical to its XC40 gas-powered variant. Volvo places the electronic plug-in port receptor behind a small swing door on the driver’s side rear fender where one usually associates a conventional Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) fuel tank lead.  The interior also mimics a conventional XC40 crossover with its simplistic, uncluttered layout and minimal buttons/dials.  Many audio/climate/navigation functions operate through a visually prominent portrait-style multi-function in-dash flat screen.  

Differences exist though, if looking closer.   Raise the front hood and the absence of any mechanical hardware’s hard to miss.  Volvo’s XC40 and many EV counterparts repurpose this area as a "FRUNK” (verbal truncation of FRONT and TRUNK).    It’s tiny when compared to conventional back-end trucks accommodating just one cubic feet of space, enough for a couple of polyurethane grocery bags of goodies. The hatch region adds generous and usable 16 cubic feet of space with 60/40-split rear seats prone. Also, no exhaust tips along the lower rear bumper area since zero emissions get produced.

Two volume trims return for 2022 in the form of a base Pure ($55,300) and slightly spicier Ultimate ($58,150).  Both figures calculate before an available Federal $7,500 tax credit redeemable at income tax time. Both include a wide array of standard equipment with Ultimate exclusively offering heated rear seats, an updates sound system and adaptive cruise control standard, which automatically slows and speeds the XC40 at highway speeds based on the vehicle in front’s distance.

With its $58,151 starting price and $1,095 destination charge, our tester ended at $60,090 representing one of the most opulent variants including $695 worth of optional metallic paint and $150 for a heated steering wheel.  By comparison a gas-fueled 2022 XC40 four cylinder starts at $34,100.  

The XC40 EV rides upon a relatively high 6.9 inches of ground clearance, providing ease of ingress and egress. Headlights swivel and turn with the same action as the three-spoke steering wheel, providing pilots with good illumination perspectives at night.

While this scribe has logged time behind several EVs available now and coming to market soon, this XC40 Recharge Twin marks the first without a traditional push-button electric start. In fact, the dashboard area right of the steering column where petrol XC40 versions would place such an orb was blacked out.  Instead, just get and go as the vehicle senses driver weight in bucket number one and readies to attention.  Then, simply push the brake pedal and tap the electronic shifter (between front buckets) 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; all new muscle memory one needs to master.

Once rolling, the sense of overall quiet is striking with the elimination of chugs and idles associated with internal combustion technology.  

Straight-line zero to 60 miles per hour performance is notably fast thanks to an abondance of low-end torque found within EVs of all sizes. Another benefit ready and waiting; passing power between 45 and 65 mph.  Expect no hesitation or lag when leap frogging an eighteen-wheeler along Interstate 88 or when merging onto the 294 Tollway from the entrance ramp. 

Foot pedal feel provides a slightly different sensation with immediate response not usually associated with an internal combustion engine. Pushing down halfway launches this XC40 EV with unexpected glee.   ‘Smooth’ best describes the ambiance when tooling down the road.

The XC40 Recharge Twin, like most EV competitors, includes a one-pedal drive mode, summoned in this case through the center touch screen.  When enacted, the pedal offers extra resistance by up-tuning the regenerative braking technology (repurposing kinetic energy into electric energy through captured friction and returning this energy back 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.

The XC40 Recharge Twin also offers another touch screen tutorial allowing for firmer steering wheel sensations. 

Two electric motors (one powering the front, one the rear axle) provides an all-wheel drive format.  The two motors reference the ‘twin’ of the ‘XC40 Recharge Twin.  Not all EVs utilize the two-motor format instead relying upon just one to deliver a front or rear drive option. Volvo’s all-wheel drive power splits evenly 50/50 front to rear.   

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 luxury products packing big V-8s under hood.

A large 78 kwh capacity lithium battery pack serves as the power source located under floor, lowering the vehicle’s center of gravity while aiding stability and contributing to less body roll during turns.  The 2022 XC40 Recharge Twin estimates a 226-mile range when fully charged, 15 more than its 2021 counterpart, but a bit lower than some rivals attaining 250 miles or more per full charge.

Inside, tall vertical air vents frame the nine-inch touch screen which takes time to master.  Another two vents each frame the edges of the dashboard.  Dual-zone climate functions work through the multifunction screen, illuminating the need for extra dials and buttons; but monitoring such commands as fan speed can divert attention from the road ahead. Voice commands remain an option, utilizing standard ‘Android for Autos’ software powered by all things Google.  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.

Volvo markets XC40 as a five-seater, but two riders fit with maximum comfort in row two.  The interior color scheme comes solely in black with a suede-leather upholstery mix.

Those new to EVing need familiarization with the charging process.  The best analogy may to a conventional hand-held Smartphone also relying upon lithium battery recharges (albeit on a smaller scale). All EVs come with a wall socket charging cord interacting with common 120-volt household alternating current (AC) known as Level One.

Charging an exhausted XC40 Recharge Twin utilizing 120-volts takes in the neighborhood of 40 some odd hours working in tandem the 11 kw onboard alternating current (AC) charger. Electric Vehicle lithium-ion battery packs store and provide direct current output for the two electric motors.  The onboard charger size and rating determines charging speed times through converting AC to DC when utilizing Level One and Level Two charging.

Early EV adapters during the past decade invested in 240-volt (Level Two) stations for homes/garages, reducing charge time to a workable eight hour.  Level Two installation pricing varies depending upon rebates and offers, but fall into the $600-$1,300 range.

Utilizing commercial DC (direct current) fast chargers provide approximately 80 percent of total battery charging capacity in approximately 40 minutes although each electric vehicle provides its own maximum level of direct current flow.  In the case of XC40, its maximum flow tops out at 150 kw, a workable but somewhat base setting. In a sense, EV charging mimics that of Smartphones in that the final 10 percent of charging happens at a slower pace.  More DC infrastructure charging station openings are planned along interstates and shopping malls during the next half decade to spur the transition.

In 2021 Volvo and Electrify America, a major supplier of EV charging stations, announced a sweet deal.  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 or complimentary charging?  Approximately 1,000 miles of driving range.  

Currently, all EVs perform better, often times exceeding range estimates (226 in this Volvo’s case) by 10 percent or more during mild or warmer weather.  When temperatures dip below freezing (32-degrees Fahrenheit) results sometimes fall short.  During our week of testing, temperatures never dipped below freezing, but never reached above 60 degrees and estimated mileage exceeded 226 miles per charge thanks in part to energy created through regenerative braking.  

In the U.S., Volvo continues as a niche player with 2021 calendar sales reaching 122,173, up 10 percent from the preceding 12 months with just about all resulting from conventional internal combustion engines.  

2022 Volvo XC40 Recharge Twin
Price as tested: $60,090
Combined Power: 300 Kw (402 Horsepower)
Battery Pack: 75 kwh lithium-ion
Driving Range:  226 miles
Wheelbase: 106.4 inches
Total Length: 174.2 inches
Total Height: 65.0 inches
Total Width: 73.3 inches
Powertrain Warranty:  Four years/50,000 miles
Lithium-Ion battery warranty:  Eight years/100,000 miles
Curb Weight: 4791 pounds
Assembly: Ghent, Belgium a



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.