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, it can tow, but long-distance towing will not be its strong point.
Key Volvo XC40 Recharge Specs
- Official Towing Capacity – 3,300 lbs
- Availability – 2021
- Price – Starting from $53,990
- EPA Range – 208 Miles
- Estimate Towing Range (50%) – 104 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 towing rating for the car is ‘3,300 lbs, 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. Therefore, I wouldn’t be 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. 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.
Polestar disputed the EPA results, therefore I would also expect Volvo to do the same. And it is very possible, that both the Polestar 2 and XC40 can achieve ranges in excess of those figures in certain situations. However, all cars go though 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.
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 EPA range 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 104 miles.
XC40 Recharge and Tesla Model Y Comparison
I’m not a ‘Tesla Fanboy’, the simple fact is, at this moment in time the benchmark for an electric tow car at this price range is a Tesla Model Y. So how does the XC40 Recharge compare against the Tesla Model Y. Well, first off, while the XC40 Recharge (Starting from $53,990) may seem more expensive than the Tesla Model Y (Starting $49,990), that’s not actually the case, for now at least. Volvo, unlike Tesla, will benefit from the $7,500 Federal Tax Credit. However, that only makes it about 3 grand cheaper, which is not a massive difference if you are spending this sort of money on a car.
Well, the XC40 Recharge is slightly down on towing capacity to the Tesla Model Y, 3,300 lbs to 3,500 lbs respectively. However, there is a pretty significant difference in EPA range estimates, of 208 miles for the XC40 Recharge and 315 miles for the Model Y.
Importantly, that translates to a 50% towing range guestimate of 108 miles for the XC40 Recharge and 156 miles for the Tesla Model Y Long Range. In other words, it appears the Tesla Model Y can travel a further distance when towing by 44% over the XC40 Recharge, that’s significant.
However, we are yet to see anyone conduct any on the road towing tests with the XC40 Recharge. Therefore, who knows, the XC40 may turn out to be more efficient than it appears looking at the figures above. It will definitely be interesting to find out.
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 3,300 lbs.