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 – 3,500 lbs
- Availability – Now
- Price – Starting from $55,990
- EPA Range – 223 Miles
- Estimate Towing Range (50%) – 112 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 tow rating for the car is ‘3,500 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, and the US model has been spec’d as 3,500 lbs.
First off, check out the walkaround video below 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 with which this car shares the same electric platform (motors/battery), the official tow 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 that 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. Though the latest version o the Volvo XC40 Recharge does have a better EPA rating of 223 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 through 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 realistic 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 is 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 previously came out with a range of just 104 miles, the latest versions a bit better at 112 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, the Volvo XC40 Recharge (Starting from $55,990) is more expensive than the Tesla Model Y (Starting at $51,990).
The XC40 Recharge is comparative in towing capacity to the Tesla Model Y, both with a rating of 3,500 lbs respectively. However, there is a pretty significant difference in EPA range estimates, of 223 miles for the XC40 Recharge and 326 miles for the Model Y.
Importantly, that translates to a 50% towing range guestimate of 112 miles for the XC40 Recharge and 163 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 45% 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.
Volvo XC40 Recharge Review
Below I’ve included a short review of the Volvo XC40 Recharge by Kelley Blue Book. As they show the XC40 recharge is not wanting for power/performance, and the XC40 base vehicle is a excellent all around car.
However, as an electric car, and especially as an electric tow car it struggles. Spending $55K for an EPA rated range of 208 to 223 miles is just not competitive to other electric car options.
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 many 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 more than 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 3,500 lbs.