Volvo unveils its first fully electric car — and a bold pledge to go carbon-neutral

Volvo unveils its first fully electric car — and a bold pledge to go carbon-neutral

Volvo promised it would release its first all-electric vehicle by 2019, and lo and behold, today’s the day. The Swedish company unveiled the all-electric XC40 Recharge at a splashy event in Los Angeles with a whole slew of futuristic features, including an infotainment system built on Google’s new embedded Android Automotive software.

Calling climate change “a real threat to our future,” Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson billed the XC40 as the first vehicle in a lineup of Recharge-branded EVs that will help the Swedish automaker achieve its plan to phase out gas-powered vehicles starting this year. Volvo must have the same reputation for sustainability as it does for safety, he added.

The car looks similar to the combustion engine XC40, just without the front grille. The car’s fully electric all-wheel drive powertrain offers a range of over 400 kilometers on a single charge based on Europe’s WLTP standard, or 200 miles in the US — though the automaker has yet to obtain an EPA rating. It will have an output of 408 horsepower (or 402 hp in US), and the battery charges to 80 percent of its capacity in 40 minutes on a fast-charger system.

Volvo did not release pricing at the event, though preorders for $1,000 are starting today. Volvo Car’s North American CEO Anders Gustafson has said the electric XC40 could come in at $50,000, or around $48,000 after incentives. Volvo says expects the XC40 Recharge to go on sale in the US in the fourth quarter of 2020. And Samuelsson said the car will also appear on the automaker’s Care By Volvo subscription plan, which has come under fire from the automaker’s network of dealers.

In addition to the car, Volvo also made a bold environmental pledge: half of its cars will be electric by 2025, and that it will slash the life-cycle carbon footprint on each car by 40 percent by the same year. The XC40 Recharge is the first vehicle for which Volvo is disclosing the life-cycle carbon footprint — effectively the CO2 emissions the car will produce during its life with both manufacturing and usage taken into account.

Moreover, Volvo will reduce the carbon output of its entire operations by 25 percent, including its suppliers, also by 2025. If everything goes according to plan, the amount of recycling and reuse of materials in Volvo’s supply chain will dramatically increase. By 2025, Volvo expects every vehicle to contain 25 percent recycled material.