The Volvo XC40 Recharge Plug-In Hybrid SUV: The Complete Guide For India

Volvo XC40 Recharge electric plug-in hybrid India
Price: N/A
Type of electric vehicle: Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)
Body type: SUV
Battery size: 10.7 kWh
Electric range (WLTP): 28 miles
Tailpipe emissions: 49g - 47g (CO2/km)


Electric Cars: The Basics


For those of you new to zero-emission electric driving, we recommend a read of the following articles:

For those keen on an overview of the Indian electric vehicle (EV) market and the different types of electric vehicles (EVs), simply scroll down to the end of the article!


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The Volvo XC40 Recharge Plug-In Hybrid SUV


Sweden has created its fair share of global brands, but none with a reputation as good as Volvo Cars, when it comes to passenger safety. Volvo cars is an automotive manufacturer based in Gothenburg, Sweden. The Volvo Group has a long history of success and was established in 1927. The Volvo electric vehicle (EV) current portfolio includes:

The Volvo XC40 conventional petrol and diesel variant has been available since 2017. The original XC40 SUV was awarded the prestigious Car of The Year accolade by WhatCar? in 2018.

The Volvo PHEV SUV is worth consideration for families already familiar with the advantages of owning and driving a Volvo car i.e. a fantastic reputation for safety and quality. Of course, the Recharge PHEV further enhances this enviable reputation, given the environment-friendly nature of lower emission plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs).

The Volvo plug-in hybrid has a 10.7 kWh onboard EV battery, with a WLTP certified pure electric range up to 28.6 miles. Not the most impressive electric range, but quite typical of many PHEVs in this segment.

The real-world EV range will be lower, possibly closer to 22 miles (emission-free). Many factors influence the real-world range, to include: driving style, temperature, elevation, wind, rain, road surface, tyres, onboard services used etc. However, the EV still has much to offer those keen to save money by driving on pure electric mode. A 22 miles EV range can be leveraged for city driving and shorter commutes i.e. school-run, high street, grocery shopping and even commuting to work.

Taking advantage of the EV range will also require inculcating a habit of charging the EV on a regular basis, which again is as easy as charging a smartphone. We at e-zoomed discourage the use of a domestic 3-PIN plug for charging an electric car.

A ‘topping up’ approach to charging will help improve the overall efficiency of the electric vehicle and also improve the long-term maintenance of the onboard EV battery. Volvo offers a 8 years or 100,000 miles warranty. The PHEV has a 3.6 kW onboard charger and can be fully charged in 3 hours. The PHEV is not capable of DC charging, which is disappointing, given the more premium badge and price tag. Having said that, most plug-in hybrid electric cars are not DC charging compatible.

Of course, driving regularly on the electric mode will further improve the fuel economy of the vehicle i.e. lower motoring costs. The automotive manufacturer claims a fuel economy up to 134.5 mpg, but achieving anything close to this, will require taking advantage of the e-mode! In any case, the PHEV will deliver a better fuel economy, compared to the conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) variant.

The EV has three driving modes: pure electric, hybrid and power. To achieve maximum vehicle efficiency, we recommend using the pure electric and hybrid mode, as often as possible. Moreover, the pure electric mode offers a more refined and quieter drive.

The performance of the front-wheel drive Volvo XC40 plug-in electric is decent. The electric vehicle (EV) combines a 1.5-litre (three-cylinder) petrol engine with an onboard electric motor, powered by the EV battery. The T5 plug-in hybrid can achieve 0-62 mph in 7.3 seconds (262 hp/ 425 Nm). The T4 plug-in hybrid can achieve 0-62 mph in 8.5 seconds (211 hp/ 405 Nm). Both variants deliver a 112 mph top speed.

The interior cabin is spacious and practical, though the boot space is compromised due to the placement of the onboard EV battery (452 L), but remains useful! The EV offers a host of safety features and technology, to include: 360° parking view, cross traffic alert, blind spot information system, advanced air purifier (prevents up to 80 per cent of hazardous PM 2.5 particles entering the cabin), pre-heat, pre-cool and more! It also offers partially recycled carpets and leather free upholstery.

The EV has claimed tailpipe emissions up to 49g CO2/km. Again, substantially lower than the emissions of the conventional petrol variant. Bottom-line, electric driving is good for the environment and the wallet! The Volvo plug-in electric car is not available in India.


PROS CONS
Good build and reliableAn expensive PHEV. Cheaper options available
Use of more sustainable materials for the interior cabinFour-wheel drive not available
Good level of standard equipment and featuresElectric range does not inspire

The Volvo XC40 Recharge Plug-In Hybrid (credit: Volvo)


Driving an electric vehicle (EV) is cheaper than driving a petrol or diesel vehicle. As an example, in India, filling a full tank of fuel for the internal combustion engine (ICE) Tata Nexon SUV will cost up to Rs 5,000 (assuming an average cost per litre of Rs 100. The Tata Nexon has a fuel tank capacity of 44 L).

In comparison, the Tata Nexon Pure Electric SUV will cost less than Rs 300 for a full EV battery charge (EV Battery size: 30.2 kWh). In India, the average cost for residential electricity is between Rs 5 to Rs 10 per kWh(unit). Therefore the cost to drive per km (or mile) in a pure electric vehicle is substantially lower than a petrol or diesel vehicle.

At an average one can expect a cost per km of Rs 1 for a zero-emission EV, while for an equivalent petrol or diesel vehicle, the cost per km could be up to Rs 7 per km. The annual cost savings achieved by switching to electric driving is significant!


At A Glance
EV Type:Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)
Vehicle Type:SUV
Engine:Electric/ Petrol
Available In India:No

Trims (2 Options)
Inscription
R-Design

EV Battery & Emissions
EV Battery Type:Lithium-ion
EV Battery Capacity:Available in one battery size: 10.7 kWh
Charging:DC charging not available. Onboard charger: 3.6 kW AC (0% – 100%: 3 hrs)
Charge Port:Type 2
EV Cable Type:Type 2
Tailpipe Emissions:49g – 47g (CO2/km)
Battery Warranty:8 years or 100,000 miles

Charging Times (Overview)
Slow charging AC (3 kW – 3.6 kW):6 – 12 hours (dependent on size of EV battery & SOC)
Fast charging AC (7 kW – 22 kW):3 – 8 hours (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)
Rapid charging AC (43 kW):0-80%: 20 mins to 60 mins (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)
Rapid charging DC (50 kW+):0-80%: 20 mins to 60 mins (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)
Ultra rapid charging DC (150 kW+):0-80% : 20 mins to 40 mins (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)
Tesla Supercharger (120 kW – 250 kW):0-80%: up to 25 mins (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)

Dimensions
Height (mm):1652
Width (mm):2034
Length (mm):4440
Wheelbase (mm):2702
Turning Circle (m):11.4
Boot Space (L):452

Volvo XC40 T 4 Plug-in Hybrid
EV Battery Capacity:10.7 kWh
Pure Electric Range (WLTP):28.6 miles
Electric Consumption:15.4 kWh/62 miles
Fuel Consumption (mpg):134.5 (combined)
Charging:DC charging not available. Onboard charger: 3.6 kW AC (0% – 100%: 3 hrs)
Top Speed:112 mph
0-62 mph:8.5 seconds
Drive:Front-wheel drive (FWD)
Electric Motor (kW):81
Horsepower (hp):211
Torque (Nm):405
Transmission:Automatic
Seats:5
Doors:5
Gross Vehicle Weight (kg):2,290
Colours:9
NCAP Safety Rating:Five-Star

Volvo XC40 T 5 Plug-in Hybrid
EV Battery Capacity:10.7 kWh
Pure Electric Range (WLTP):28 miles
Electric Consumption:15.5 kWh/62 miles
Fuel Consumption (mpg):128.4 (combined)
Charging:DC charging not available. Onboard charger: 3.6 kW AC (0% – 100%: 3 hrs)
Top Speed:112 mph
0-62 mph:7.3 seconds
Drive:Front-wheel drive (FWD)
Electric Motor (kW):81
Horsepower (hp):262
Torque (Nm):425
Transmission:Automatic
Seats:5
Doors:5
Gross Vehicle Weight (kg):2,290
Colours:9
NCAP Safety Rating:Five-Star

India Electric Vehicle (EV) Market


India, like many other countries, is well positioned to benefit from the shift to zero-tailpipe emission electric driving. Road transportation is a major contributor to air pollution (over 30%), choking our towns, cities and villages across India. Diesel vehicles, in particular, diesel trucks and diesel buses, are significant sources for tailpipe emissions. But given the rise in the standard of living, since liberalisation, the demand for privately owned passenger cars has increased at an unprecedented pace, further worsening the air quality. India has more than 3 crores (30 million) cars releasing tailpipe emissions on its roads!

Though we have seen some improvements in air quality during the ongoing pandemic (as a result of lower vehicle traffic), India’s shift to electric driving will be key in achieving long-term higher air quality. Of course, apart from EVs, the continued development of green and renewable energy infrastructure will be key in achieving lower long-term air pollution. India has already demonstrated global leadership in regards to large-scale solar and wind projects! Hopefully, India will replicate the success with zero-emission electric vehicles.

Despite recent announcements and support from local and national government agencies in India, the EV market is still at a nascent stage, well, at least in terms of electric cars and electric vans. Two-wheel electric scooters and three-wheel electric rickshaws (e-rickshaws) have demonstrated a strong uptake, and India is poised to become a global leader in electric scooters and electric rickshaws (e-tuk). In fact, the ubiquitous e-rickshaw commands an impressive 83% of the Indian electric vehicle market. India currently has over 15 lakhs (1.5 million) e-rickshaws, with each EV playing a role in reducing tailpipe emissions on our roads in India.

Sales of passenger electric cars is still at an early stage. In FY2021, though the market witnessed a growth of nearly 110% from the previous year, the absolute volume of cars sold was only 5,905 electric cars. Currently there are less that 15 pure electric car models available on sale in India.

Tata Motors, the biggest automotive manufacturer in India has launched the Tata Nexon electric SUV. Mahindra Electric, another leading Indian automotive manufacturer, has also launched a number of plug-in electric vehicles (EVs), to include, the Mahindra eVerito electric car, Mahindra eSupro electric van and Mahindra e2o Plus compact electric car. International manufacturers, like UK based MG Motors, have also launched the MG ZS electric SUV in India. Also available are the all-electric Jaguar I-PACE SUV and the Hyundai Kona electric SUV.


Types Of Electric Vehicles (EVs)


Electric vehicle” is an umbrella term, and a broad one at that. There are a number of different types of electric vehicles (EVs), each with its distinct characteristics and advantages. These include:

  • BEVs: Battery-electric vehicles (pure electric)
  • PHEVs: Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (electric and internal combustion engine (ICE) combined)
  • MHEVs: Mild hybrid electric vehicles (internal combustion engine (gasoline or diesel) along with regenerative braking)
  • FCEVs: Fuel cell electric vehicle (electric with hydrogen as fuel)

The above “types” are powered either entirely or partially by electric energy and have different environmental impacts.


Battery-Electric Vehicles (BEVs)


Battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), also known as pure electric vehicles, are powered entirely by electricity (i.e. the vehicle does not have a conventional internal combustion engine). BEVs have zero-tailpipe emissions and help improve local air quality.

BEVs are also very economical to drive. A BEV can cost as little as Rs 50 per 100 kilometres to drive. Examples of best-selling EVs include, the all-electric Tesla Model 3 and the all-electric Renault Zoe. A BEV is charged by plugging in the electric vehicle to a dedicated electric car charging station (home or public charging stations). BEVs are well suited for those living in towns, cities and urban centres. Of course, battery-electric vehicles are also suitable for those living in rural settings.


Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs)


Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) differ from battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), in that, PHEVs use both a conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) and an electric engine for propulsion. Plug-in hybrid vehicles combine the advantages of electric driving and internal combustion engine driving.

On shorter distances, the PHEV uses the electric mode to drive emission-free, using the on-board EV battery and regenerative braking. For longer distances, the plug-in hybrid electric vehicles switches to using the internal combustion engine. With a PHEV, the vehicle can cost as little Rs 50 per 100 kilometres to drive on e-mode, without any tailpipe pollution, and also be driven long-distances, without the fear of range anxiety! Most PHEVs have an EV battery of up to 15 kWh and can achieve a zero-emission electric range of up to 50 kilometres. No wonder PHEVs are fast becoming popular globally, with much potential or India. Like a BEV, the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle is charged by using an external power source (EV charging point) for charging.

PHEVs are suitable for those that drive long-distances on a regular basis but want to lower the negative environmental impact from tailpipe pollution. PHEVs are also suitable for those individuals and families that are seeking to save money by taking advantage of electric driving. The Volvo XC40 PHEV and the Volkswagen Golf 8 are good examples of PHEVs.


Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicles (MHEVs)


Mild hybrid electric vehicles (MHEVs) are a limited form of electric driving. These vehicles also use hybrid technologies (electric driving and internal combustion engine), but the EV battery is much smaller than a BEV or PHEV. Moreover, in a mild hybrid, the EV battery cannot be charged via an external source (i.e. EV charging station). In a MHEV, the battery is charged by capturing the energy released during braking, a process known as regenerative braking. MHEVs have lower tailpipe emissions, and are more economical to own, run and maintain than petrol and diesel cars. MHEVs are a better option than a petrol or diesel car, but not as good an option as a BEV or PHEV. Mild hybrids are well suited for those living in regions with limited charging infrastructure. Again, MHEVs have great potential in India, given the limited public EV charging infrastructure.

The Toyota Prius is a good example of a mild hybrid electric vehicle.


Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs)


Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) also called hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, have a fuel cell stack that uses hydrogen to generate the electricity needed to power the electric vehicle. The fuel cell generates electricity and pure water vapour that can escape via the tailpipe. It is capable of generating electricity as long as there is a steady supply of hydrogen. Fuel cell electric vehicles can be refuelled with hydrogen at purpose built filling stations. Filling an FEC takes no more than five minutes.

FCEVs have a range of about 500 kilometers or more between refueling. Today, the only and major limitation is the very limited hydrogen refuelling station network globally. The Toyota Mirai FCEV is a good example of this type of EV.


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Author

Ashvin Suri

Ashvin has been involved with the renewables, energy efficiency and infrastructure sectors since 2006. He is passionate about the transition to a low-carbon economy and electric transportation. Ashvin commenced his career in 1994, working with US investment banks in New York. Post his MBA from the London Business School (1996-1998), he continued to work in investment banking at Flemings (London) and JPMorgan (London). His roles included corporate finance advisory, M&A and capital raising. He has been involved across diverse industry sectors, to include engineering, aerospace, oil & gas, airports and automotive across Asia and Europe. In 2010, he co-founded a solar development platform, for large scale ground and roof solar projects to include the UK, Italy, Germany and France. He has also advised on various renewable energy (wind and solar) utility scale projects working with global institutional investors and independent power producers (IPP’s) in the renewable energy sector. He has also advised in key international markets like India, to include advising the TVS Group, a multi-billion dollar industrial and automotive group in India. Ashvin has also advised Indian Energy, an IPP backed by Guggenheim (a US$ 165 billion fund). He has also advised AMIH, a US$ 2 billion, Singapore based group. Ashvin has also worked in the real estate and infrastructure sector, to including working with the Matrix Group (a US$ 4 billion property group in the UK) to launch one of the first few institutional real estate funds for the Indian real estate market. The fund was successfully launched with significant institutional support from the UK/ European markets. He has also advised on water infrastructure, to include advising a Swedish clean technology company in the water sector. He is also a member of the Forbury Investment Network advisory committee. He has also been involved with a number of early stage ventures.

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