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 exactly the same dual motor AWD system and 78kW battery pack. The Polestar 2 can tow, so what about the XC40 Recharge? Yes, the XC40 Recharge can also tow 1,500 kg, but how far will it be able to tow?
Key Volvo XC40 Recharge Specs
- Official Towing Capacity – 1,500 kg
- Availability – 2021
- Price – Starting from £59,985
- Range (EV Database) – 200 Miles
- Estimate Towing Range (50%) – 100 miles
- Maximum Charge Rate – 150 kW (DC Fast Charger)
Volvo XC40 Recharge HP & Torque
- AWD with 402 HP and 487 lb-ft of torque
Volvo XC40 Recharge Towing Capabilities
So you may have noticed I’ve written under the image of the XC40 Recharge above that the tow rating for the car is ‘1,500 kg currently’. I’m going to get into why I wrote that shortly. However, as of now, all the promotional/marketing materials that Volvo has produced for the XC40 Recharge state that the car can tow 1,500 kg, which is slightly over 3,300 lbs.
First off, check out the walkaround video for the XC40 Recharge that Volvo 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!
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 has ‘doubled down’ on the towing capabilities of the XC40 Recharge with a separate short promotional video titled ‘Can you tow with an electric car’.
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. Therefore, you are probably wondering where I’m going with this. Why may that towing figure potentially change/drop?
Is it because I think the XC40 Recharge is not technically capable of towing a trailer of that weight? Far from it, the XC40 Recharge has even more torque than a Tesla Model Y Performance! So what’s the problem?
Well, If you check out my Polestar 2 post, hence the car which this car shares the same electric platform (motors/battery) with, the official towing rating dropped from 3,300 lbs to 2,000 lbs in the US. Though currently the Polestar 2 still appears rated with a towing capacity of 1,500 kg (3,300 lbs) in the UK. Therefore, I wouldn’t be completely surprised if Volvo does the same with the official tow rating of XC40 Recharge. Why? Potentially due to the impact on range.
Real World Towing Range Concerns
Polestar was not too pleased with their 233-mile rating for the Polestar 2 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 uses 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 has given the Volvo XC40 and even lower 200-mile real-world range figure.
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 realist 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 comes out with a range of just 100 miles.
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 the upcoming UK release of the Tesla Model Y when you look at the predicted towing range and price. Originally it was expected the XC40 Recharge would have a starting price of around £53,000. However, the Volvo website now states a starting price of just under £59,000 for the XC40 Recharge.
The Long Range Dual Motor Tesla Model Y which will also tow 1,500 kg is predicted to have a UK starting price of £54,000 and a none towing range of 260 miles, hence a 50% towing range guestimate of 130 miles. Put simply, the Tesla Model Y will go further while towing 1,500 kg and cost several thousand less.
There is also the differences in the maxium rate of charge of 150 kW for the Volvo XC40 Recharge and 250 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, it 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 not going to be that practical. Particularly when compared to the competition, in this case, the Tesla Model Y.
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 is rather ridiculous for a car with a 200-mile real-world range. I predict that as soon as the Tesla Model Y is hitting UK streets that price for the Volvo XC40 recharge will come down considerably. If it doesn’t, I don’t see how Volvo can market the XC40 Recharge as viable competition for the Tesla Model Y considering the points referenced above.