The XC40 P8 is identical to its ICE and PHEV siblings except for the now mandatory body color grille and the Recharge mark on the C-pillar. The charging port is on the front fender on the near side, there’s a bespoke alloy wheel design and new exterior colors, including a green that has an inappropriate militaristic overtone. (The exterior of the XC40, by the way, is the work of British designer Ian Kettle, who was drawn to Tesla shortly after its reveal.) Underneath is the same Common Modular Architecture (CMA) that underlies it. the Polestar 2, various Lynk & Co models, and the Geely Xingyue (new to us too). Importantly, it was designed to accept an electric powertrain so that the functionality of the XC40 would not be corrupted. The P8 is powered by an underfloor mounted 78 kWh lithium-ion battery, which powers two electric motors, one on each axle to provide all-wheel drive. Power output is 402 hp, an outrageous 487 lb-ft of torque, which in turn translates into a decidedly little Volvo gear turn: few cars in the wonderfully idiosycratic Swedes’ canon have hit 62 mph less. five seconds. Volvo claims a WLTP range of 260 miles on a single charge, and connected to a 150kW fast charger, you’ll get 80% of that in about 40 minutes. On a standard 7-11kW home wall charger, you need eight hours.
If this all sounds similar to the numbers cited for the excellent Polestar 2, it’s because the hardware is identical. Which in turn is a reminder that the challenge in the rapidly changing world of electric vehicles is to create something that is significantly greater than the sum of its parts. Design, connectivity, ease of use and quality are becoming more important than ever. Volvo already has a head start in all four categories with the classic XC40. How much better can an all-electric iteration be?