Volvo C40 Recharge Crosses Over Into a Fully Electric Expression of Swedish Design

Swedish auto marquee Volvo is looking to get ahead of the curve by transitioning to an automotive line comprised of 50% fully electric models by 2025, an aggressive plan following a parallel path laid forth by the brand’s spinoff electric performance division, Polestar. The newly announced Volvo C40 Recharge, a fastback sibling of the Volvo XC40 Recharge, offers a glimpse of the brand’s intent to win over new customers with their first vehicle designed from the ground up as a battery-powered vehicle.

Volvo describes the C40 Recharge as a streamlined vehicle exhibiting the “benefits of an SUV but with a lower and sleeker design”. And indeed, the C40 Recharge’s smaller stout profile seems indicative of a design shaped to optimize zero emission performance while maximizing interior comforts, one of the most notable benefits of most vehicles riding upon a purely electric platform.

Combined with its angular geometric indentations, the C40 Recharge is almost Brutalist (not far-fetched considering “Brutalism” is a derivation from the Swedish phrase nybrutalism). The vehicle’s most notable detail is the C40 Recharge’s sloping rear roofline, alluding to its speedy abilities and blurring the lines between SUV and hatchback styling; that implied motion is also tied to the brand’s distinctive “Thor’s Hammer” headlights glower and glow powered by pixel-technology across its grille-less visage, with rear LED headlights angling from the roofline down across the horizontal hatchback like an unbent paperclip.

“The C40 Recharge represents the future of Volvo and shows where we are going,” said Henrik Green, chief technology officer. “It is fully electric, offered online only with a convenient care package and will be available for quick delivery.”

The interior cabin of the C40 Recharge is simple and spare, with a repeat of the “Thor’s Hammer” motif stretching from the passenger side vents toward the vertically oriented center infotainment console powered by Google’s Android operating system. The trim panels are also backlit with an abstract topographic design lending itself as an attractive detail connecting the vehicle’s interior and exterior. Only the oval driver’s side display seems incongruous to the sum of a vehicle so boldly characterized by creases and angles, but does result in a large display for navigation.

Hidden within, twin electric motors individually power front and rear axles, each tapping a 78kWh battery capable of fast-charged up to 80% in about 40 minutes and offering a range of around 210 miles. The lead-footed will have a total output of 402 horsepower and 486 pound-feet of torque to summon with a press of the accelerator, good for a respectable 0-to-60-mph time of 4.7 seconds.

Volvo has taken the interesting course to make the C40 Recharge as an online-only purchase experience, and plans to limit options down to a few pre-selected variants – both to simplify logistics, but also reduce anxiety associated with the paradox of choice. Prices have yet to be revealed, but expect to see pre-configured models starting somewhere in the ballpark of $60,000 as revealed by the app preview above.

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