Volvo’s first EV without a gas-powered counterpart has some slick features that have nothing to do with touchscreens, software updates, or battery range.
The C40 Recharge was announced earlier this year and will arrive in the U.S. at the start of 2022. It’s expected to start around $55,000 before federal tax credits. I took a look at a Fjord Blue model at Volvo’s tech offices in the Bay Area last week.
Sure, the C40 Recharge has built-in Google integration with navigation, audio, and entertainment running on Android software and an accompanying app to monitor charging and over-the-air software updates. But it’s the simple details like the front trunk (or “frunk”) and console layout that pique my interest.
Subtle compartments, fixtures, and design choices are scattered throughout Volvo’s first dedicated electric SUV.
Like most EVs, the front space under the hood is now an available storage unit. Thanks to the lack of an internal combustion engine, the battery laying flat along the car floor, and the dual electric motors along with both axles, there’s extra space upfront. The Recharge has 21 liters of volume to hold purses, small bags, or, even more conveniently, charging cords.
Receptacles galore, including a trashcan
Volvo’s Scandinavian roots show the front console between the driver and passenger seats in the C40 Recharge. Beyond the standard cupholders, cellphone stand, and cavernous armrest compartment, there’s a small flap behind the gear shifter. It opens to a small trashcan for gum wrappers, receipts, and other miscellanea that finds its way into the EV. Instead of collecting in random crevices, your trash stays organized and is easier to clear out later.
There’s even something for the back row. Built into the side of the seats are small open compartments to snug in water bottles, electronics, or — since we’re talking about analog features — even an actual book.
The backside of a car is usually overlooked because, well, it’s just an ample open space to put stuff. The C40 Recharge trunk isn’t that exhilarating or anything, although it does have a “secret” compartment below the trunk floor for added storage that’s more secure. But a unique feature in the backspace is a system of hooks to hold your grocery (or other) shopping bags in place. It’s the little things.
A vast pane of glass opens up the compact SUV. While the panoramic window doesn’t do anything functionally (it’s sealed shut), it makes the experience of sitting in the car that much better. Even with the glass in the ceiling weather-tight, the vehicle somehow feels more open and makes a late-night recharging session sound more palatable while gazing into the sky above.
Reservations for the C40 Recharge are open online with a $500 deposit even though the car hasn’t started production. The official range hasn’t been released yet, but Volvo’s similarly sized XC40 Recharge hits over 200 miles on a single charge — if you care about those things. I’m all about cupholders and storage space.