Volvo XC40 Recharge – What Can It Tow?

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The Volvo XC40 Recharge was designed/engineered alongside the Polestar 2, with Polstar being a sub-brand of Volvo. The general idea appears to be Polestar will be aimed at a younger audience, with Volvo remaining focused on generally a more mature customer base. The XC40 Recharge and Polestar 2, therefore, share the same under pinings and 1,500kg towing capacity. However, it now appears that the Volvo XC40 Recharge will only be made available with FWD and the AWD version has been dropped.

Volvo XC40 Recharge
The Volvo XC40 Recharge has a tow rating of 1,500 kg: Image –

Key Volvo XC40 Recharge Specs

  • Official Towing Capacity – 1,500 kg
  • Availability – March 2022
  • Price – Starting from £48,300 (Pure)
  • Range (EV Database) – 195 Miles (Pure)
  • Estimate Towing Range (50%) – 98 miles (Pure)
  • Maximum DC Charge Rate – 150 kW (Pure)
  • Rapid Charge 10% to 80% – 33 mins (Pure)
  • Check Used Volvo XC40 Recharge Specs

Volvo XC40 Recharge HP & Torque

  • XC40 Pure: FWD with 228 HP and 243 lb-ft of torque

Volvo XC40 Recharge Towing Capabilities

The first version of the Volvo XC40 Recharge which was made available in the UK was the P8 which was AWD and had over 400HP which was frankly bonkers for this type of car, not as bonkers as the price though which was, wait for it, £60K!

For 2022, Volvo is going to release the XC40 Pure, which has a lower price point of just over £48K. Hence surely Volvo has realised their pricing was not exactly competitive. Well, hang on, we’ll discuss how competitive the new XC40 Pure is shortly. First off, let’s check out some background on the XC40 Recharge.

The walkaround video below for the Volvo XC40 Recharge was released in May 2020. This walkaround does give a good overview of the car with a very minimalist, hence Scandinavian presentation as you might expect. It’s clear that Volvo does want to emphasize the towing capabilities of the XC40 Recharge as they get right in there with towing at the 3-minute mark before they even discuss most of the key features of the car!

Early on at the 3-minute mark the 1,500 kg (3,300 lb) towing capacity of the XC40 Recharge is referenced

So Volvo clearly wanted to put an emphasis on the utility/functionality of their fully-electric compact SUV referencing towing capabilities so early on in the presentation. They clearly want to market the car to those who might be considering an alternative fully-electric compact SUV’s which can tow, such as the Tesla Model Y.

Volvo then ‘doubled down’ on the towing capabilities of the XC40 Recharge with a separate short promotional video titled ‘Can you tow with an electric car’ seen below.

Volvo again emphasizes the towing capabilities of the XC40 Recharge at 1,500 kg (3,300 lb)

In the promotional video above we get a further look at the neatly designed retractable tow hitch, which I do really like. More importantly though, we get further reassurance that the XC40 Recharge can tow 1,500 kg.

Towing capability aside, where the first Volvo XC40 Recharge P8 and the upcoming Recharge Pure struggle is range. Its not great and that’s before you even consider putting a trailer/caravan on the back.

Real World Towing Range Concerns

Polestar was not too pleased with their 233-mile rating for the Polestar 2 Long Range Dual Motor variant from the EPA in the US. Though, as you can see in my Polestar 2 post, some unofficial European testing also seems to be producing similar results.

Well, the Volvo XC40 Recharge P8 used the same motors/batteries but its a taller vehicle which produces more aerodynamic drag, especially while travelling at speed. Hence, the XC40 Recharge got an even lower rating from the EPA at just 208 miles. Furthermore, the EV Database gave the Volvo XC40 Recharge P8 an even lower 200-mile real-world range figure (see here).

Polestar disputed the EPA results in the US, therefore I would also expect Volvo to do the same. And its true, both the Polestar 2 and XC40 can achieve ranges in excess of those figures in certain situations. However, all cars go through the same EPA testing cycle so the same can also be said of all-electric cars.

I and many others believe the EPA testing is a realistic reference for real-world range estimates. And for UK cars, I reference the EV Database, as their figures closely align with EPA results.

When it comes to towing to get a very general estimate of how far an electric car will travel you take the range estimate, in this case, the EV Database range figure and chop it in half. Now, again, the car may achieve more or less than this depending on lots of factors. The size and weight of the trailer and the terrain (downhill/uphill) are all in play. However, on the 50% towing guestimate the XC40 Recharge P8 came out with a range of just 100 miles.

2022 Volvo Recharge Pure

For 2022, Volvo has apparently dropped the AWD P8 variant and as of now is just going to offer the single motor XC40 Pure. It has a smaller battery with a usable capacity of 67 kWh, therefore while dropping an electric motor the real-world range is further reduced compared to the P8 variant, and will likely come in around 195 miles (98 miles while towing).

As I discuss in my article on the new single motor versions of the Polestar 2, my additional concern over range with these new variants is traction, as they are FWD. Front wheel drive cars do not make particularly good tow cars, especially if you want to take full advantage of the cars 1,500 kg towing capacity.

Volvo XC40 Recharge and Tesla Model Y Comparison

I’m not a ‘Tesla Fanboy’, the simple fact is, the XC40 Recharge does not compare well against what is likely going to be one of the leading electric tow cars in the UK the Tesla Model Y when you look at the predicted towing range and price.

The Long Range Dual Motor Tesla Model Y which will tow 1,600 kg has a starting price of £54,000 and a none towing range of 260 miles, hence a 50% towing range guestimate of 130 miles.

Tesla Model Y
The Tesla Model Y will go a lot further than the Volvo XC40 Recharge when towing: Image –

There is also the difference in the maxium rate of charge of 150 kW for the Volvo XC40 Recharge and 210 kW for the Tesla Model Y. As towing will roughly decrease the range of an EV by half, getting power back into the battery as quickly as possible is doubly important.

Not only can the Tesla charge faster, but it also has access to the Tesla Supercharger network. Where that’s obviously not the case with the Volvo XC40 which would be dependant on the public charging network.

My Thoughts On The Volvo XC40 Recharge

While my comments above on the XC40 Recharge may seem downbeat, I do want to further emphasize, they are from the context of looking at the vehicle as an electric tow car. Just as an electric car for normal journies I do believe the XC40 Recharge will be viable for most peoples needs.

Furthermore, I do rate Volvo for the quality/safety of their vehicles. It’s just when it comes to a long-range electric tow car, it appears the XC40 Recharge is just not going to be that practical. Particularly when compared to the competition and not just the Tesla Model Y. If you look at another premium brand, the BMW i4 is much more capable for similar money.

I also don’t want Volvo to downgrade the tow rating of the XC40 Recharge. There are people who want to pull heavy loads over only short distances which the car will be capable of. I do think though, that Volvo is going to have to make it very clear to potential customers, what a real-world range will be on the XC40 Recharge when towing a trailer weighing 1,500 kg.

Finally though, I think that the £60k starting price for the XC40 Recharge P8 was rather ridiculous for a car with a 200-mile real-world range. Furthermore, I think the XC40 Pure with its FWD powertrain and the smaller battery is also overpriced.

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