The new Volvo C40 Recharge is the Swedish automaker’s second full electric vehicle after it introduced the XC40 Recharge in 2022.

The difference between the two models is that the Recharge has no internal combustion engine counterpart; it’s a standalone EV that features a coupe-style slanted roof. It will be sold exclusively online instead of at dealerships, and will cost R1 285 000. Other EVs with similar pricing include the Mercedes-Benz EQB for R1 305 000, and the BMW iX1 at R1 140 000.

The C40 Recharge is available in a twin motor variant, which I drove at the South African launch event, from Cape Town to Franschhoek on a cold and rainy day.

The car is equipped with a 78kWh battery, of which 75kWh is usable. Range is around 444km. The battery can be recharged from 10% to 80% in 37 minutes.

We started off the 120km scenic route from the airport with the battery sitting at over 90%. Given the weather, we cranked up the heat and used other comforts like the seat warmer as we made our way to Franschhoek.

The C40 has a total output of 300kW of power, and 600Nm of torque. It’s a heavy crossover at 2.6 tonnes, but the car is quick thanks to instant torque, like all EVs. It was also relatively easy to manoeuvre around corners.

Volvo has a single drive mode; there’s no eco or sport mode, but there is a “range assist” screen to help prolong it in real-time. And, there’s no start button. You simply switch it into gear and drive off – this stumped a few first-time Volvo EV drivers.

We experienced highway driving, stop-and-go traffic, windy uphill passes, suburban roads, and gravel. At no point were we concerned about the battery running low and even turned off One-Pedal Drive.

When it’s switched on, the One-Pedal Drive has an aggressive braking effect. The EV recovers kinetic energy during braking and recharges the battery. Volvo says approximately 5% to 10% can be recovered, depending on traffic conditions.

We arrived in Franschhoek with about 60% of battery remaining, at around 20kWh/100km. Volvo’s claim of electric energy consumption is 21kWh/100km. I think we did great, but 120km of driving is too short to accurately determine efficiency.

The C40 has a 5-star Euro New Car Assessment Programme safety rating. It has Volvo’s Advanced Driver Assistance Systems that uses cameras, ultrasonic sensors, and radars to brake automatically.

There’s also a Pilot Assist feature that helps you maintain constant speed using a preselected time interval with the vehicle in front and keeps it within the lane markings.

The dashboard is characterised by a 9-inch touch infotainment screen that runs on Android through Google Automotive Services. If you use an Android smartphone, the interface will be familiar, although it doesn’t have the greatest UX. There are also no graphics to visualise data.

The Volvo C40 Recharge is quick, safe, and reliable for those who want to get from A to B in an EV. Visibility is somewhat limited compared to the XC40 Recharge, due to its coupe-like shape.

The UX on Google Automotive Services is limited by Android, which needs connectivity for Maps and Assistant to work. Loadshedding and poor signal on the roads is not a great combination and will mean less reliability. EV prices in South Africa are still a sore point, and import duties urgently need to be reduced. If Volvo brought out a single motor variant like it did on the XC40 Recharge, could it also mean an almost

R200 000 price reduction for the C40 Recharge. I’m keeping a close eye on its next EV, the EX30, slated for 2024, starting at R776 000.


Model: Volvo C40 Recharge
Battery: 75kW (nett)
Output: 300kW
Torque: 600Nm

The C40 can be ordered online at

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