Second report confirms Volvo C40 world premiere for March 2

On Dec 22, a report from europe.autonews.com said that Volvo plans to present its second EV on March 2, 2021. Now Chinese outlet Autohome is reporting, citing a Volvo official, that the unveil is scheduled for the same date.

The ‘C’ brand was last used in 2013 on the C30 coupe-hatch. However, a lot has changed at Volvo from that time which would influence the direction of the Volvo C40.

To begin with, Volvo’s plan is to attach an electric motor to all its products from 2019, and its aim is to launch a fully electric car every year until 2025. By 2025, Volvo electric cars will account for 50 per cent of global sales and the Volvo C40 electric would be a key driver to achieve that milestone given its positioning in the market.

Let’s take a look at what we know about Volvo’s second electric car:

Design & Branding

Coupe variants of SUV are in style, and manufacturers including JLR and BMW have already cashed in on the trend with the Evoque and X2, both key competitors for the Volvo C40. The sleeker design of a coupe over the XC40’s boxy SUV styling should result in better aerodynamics, which will be crucial in improving travel range. Where the Evoque and X2 are available with PHEV options, the Volvo C40 would offer the distinction of featuring an all electric drivetrain.

Volvo XC40 Recharge side profile
The C40 Electric will be based on the XC40 Recharge’s CMA platform. Enhancements to the body could make the car more aerodynamic. Image: Volvo.

In an interview with Automotive News Europe in November 2020, Hakan Samuelsson, President & CEO, Volvo, talked about the upcoming Volvo EV. When asked if it will be an SUV-coupe like the BMW X2 (but all-electric), he clearly indicated that it will be derived from the Volvo XC40 Recharge.

Samuelsson said that the next launch will be a variation on the underbody of the XC40 using the same technology, but with a streamlined top hat. He ruled out the idea of launching the Volvo XC40 Recharge coupe as a next-gen Volvo V40.

While the 452 litre boot space and the rear headroom would be compromised by the sharply falling roofline, the 31 liter ‘frunk’ should be unaffected.

Range & Performance

Thanks to better aerodynamics because of the lower and sloping roofline, the Volvo C40 should have more energy efficiency compared to the XC40 Recharge.

The Volvo XC40 Recharge features two electric motors generating 402 hp and 486 Lb.-Ft., and a 75 kWh (net/usable) battery pack that gives a range of 208 miles (EPA). The coupe version could return a range close to 220 miles (EPA) with the same motors and standard battery pack.

Safety

The XC40 Recharge is one of the safest cars Volvo has built, said Malin Ekholm, head of safety at Volvo cars. Engineers developed a new and unique safety structure for passengers and the battery pack in the Recharge, as well as it give it a reinforced frontal structure to deal with the absence of the engine. The same elements would be carried on to the Volvo C40, making it one of the safest coupe-crossovers on sale.

Volvo XC40 Recharge Battery Package to be used on the Volvo C40 Recharge
The 75kWh (usable) battery pack on the XC40 Recharge will get carried over to the Volvo C40 electric which is set to become one of the safest coupe-crossovers in the market. Image: Volvo.

Manufacturing & Price

In March 2020, Volvo inaugurated a brand new battery assembly line at its Belgian manufacturing plant in Ghent, where it builds the XC40 Recharge and the incoming C40. The carmaker signed long-term supply agreements for its battery needs with CATL of China and LG Chem of South Korea.

Samuelsson had stated in an interview with Automotive News previously that the ongoing pandemic forced the carmaker to re-evaluate a number of its projects. However, the company does not plan on pausing its electrification strategy. Production of the Volvo C40 is planned at 8,000 units for its first year on the market, as per reports.

Volvo Cars announced in January 2020 that it plans to triple electric car production capacity at the Ghent plant (Belgium) by 2022. The company will utilize around 60% of the net production capacity for manufacturing electric cars.

In the announcement, Volvo Cars confirmed that it will start production of the second fully electric Volvo model, later this year. The company says it wants EVs to account for half its annual sales worldwide by 2025, and much of that responsibility initially would fall on compact models like the XC40 Recharge and its coupe derivative. The company recently said that it plans to set up complete in-house electric motor production by the middle of the decade. It will assemble e-motors at its powertrain plant in Skovde, Sweden, with an investment of SEK 700 million (USD 84 million).

With the Volvo XC40 Recharge costing $53,990, expect the Volvo C40 electric coupe to retail from around $60,000 when it eventually arrives in the United States.

Volvo C40 FAQs

What is the Volvo C40 Electric release date?

The Volvo C40 (Volvo XC40 Coupe) is expected to be available to customers in Europe in mid-2021.

Which SUVs would the Volvo C40 Electric rival?

The C40 Electric will rival the Mercedes EQA. The Range Rover Evoque PHEV & BMW X2 PHEV are indirect competitors.

What will be the price (before subsidies) of the Volvo C40?

The C40 is expected at around $60,000 in America. The XC40 Recharge starts at $53,990 or $46,490 after federal EV tax credit.