2020 Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge revealed: price, specs and release date

The Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge is the Swedish brand's first ever fully electric car, and we've got everything you need to know about it...

2020 Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge - front studio shot

On sale Spring 2020|​ Price from £50,000 (est)

So, you've decided to buy an electric car, either to lower your motoring costs or your emissions. But are you an extrovert who wants the whole world to know, or an introvert who’d rather not draw attention to yourself?

The answer to that question will probably determine whether you go for a standalone electric model or something that’s also available with petrol and diesel engines. And if you’re in the latter camp, the new Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge could be well worth considering.

As the name suggests, it’s based on the existing XC40 – a family SUV that’s so good in diesel form that it scooped our overall Car of the Year award in 2018. What’s more, aside from a closed front grille (due to the fact that there’s a second boot behind it instead of an engine that needs cooling), it looks pretty much identical to its fossil-fuelled siblings.

2020 Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge - front luggage space

As is common with electric cars, it has its batteries under the floor, with an electric motor on each axle to make it four-wheel drive. Meanwhile, the combined output of those motors is 402bhp, which is more than you get in some Teslas and 144bhp up on the most powerful petrol XC40, so the P8 Recharge should be properly fast.

At the same time, Volvo claims it will be able to cover around 250 miles before the batteries run flat. That’s in line with the official ranges of the Audi E-tron and the cheapest Tesla Model 3, but our 2019 Car of the Year, the Kia e-Niro, managed 282 miles in government tests and the Jaguar I-Pace 292 miles.

The other big news is that the P8 Recharge will be the first Volvo to get the firm’s new infotainment system. Developed in partnership with Google, it retains the portrait-style touchscreen interface found in current Volvos, but is said to offer “unprecedented personalisation”, in addition to the internet giant’s Maps, apps and voice control technology.

2020 Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge - dashboard

The system will also give live hazard warnings, and allow wireless updates which bring everything from maintenance and software upgrades to completely new features.

Volvo predicts that plug-in cars will account for 20% of its sales next year. The majority of those will be hybrids, but within five years it plans to have a fully electric variant of every model in its line-up.

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Jaguar I-Pace

Jaguar I-Pace front

Price from £64,495

More expensive than the XC40, but it can go farther between recharges and is great to drive.

Kia e-Niro

Kia e-Niro 64kWh

Price from £36,495

Our reigning Car of the Year is a sensibly priced electric car that can fit into most people’s lives.

Tesla Model 3

Price from £40,840

Well priced, stuffed with clever tech and more practical than you’d expect for a saloon.