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Volvo XC40 Recharge plug-in hybrid killed by electric cars

Volvo Australia has dropped the XC40 plug-in hybrid to make way for more pure-electric cars.

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Volvo Australia has pulled the plug on the 2022 Volvo XC40 Recharge Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) Less than two years after it went on sale – as the brand goes all-in on fully-electric vehicles where they’re available.

The Volvo XC40 Recharge Plug-in Hybrid T5 R-Design (using its long-winded, full name) has been axed during the course of Model Year (MY) 2022 – less than two years since its launch in mid-2020 – and won ‘t return for the XC40’s mid-life facelift for MY23, due this July, Volvo Australia has confirmed to Drive.

Despite being Australia’s fifth best-selling plug-in hybrid in 2021 – and 20 sales off being tied for third place – Volvo says the XC40 PHEV has been axed in order to concentrate its efforts on the XC40 Recharge Pure Electric variant, ahead of plans to switch its model range to electric power only.

“Our future is all-electric, whereby 2030 globally we aim to only have all-electric vehicles in our model line-up. Here in Australia we want to lead the charge and have aspirations or plans to reach that milestone even earlier,” a Volvo Australia spokesperson told Drive.

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“To that end our focus is on [XC40 Recharge] Pure Electric, and the fact that we have a single motor variant coming to complement our twin motor variant of the XC40 Recharge Pure Electric [as] we continue to evolve our model line-up.”

While Volvo has committed to making electric vehicles (EV) account for half of its sales globally by 2025, Volvo Car Australia boss Stephen Connor has set an aim for 100 per cent all-electric sales locally by the same date – five years before the same target globally, despite the local EV market being in its infancy (albeit growing rapidly).

“We are seeing a surging demand for electric vehicles in Australia, and in 2022 pure electric cars will make up a minimum of 30 [per cent] of our sales. This will only increase as more and more Australians embrace the all-electric drivetrains,” Connor said in January.

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Priced from $66,990 before on-road costs, the XC40 Recharge Plug-in Hybrid cost $10,000 less than an equivalent all-electric model – despite a battery offering less than 15 per cent of the capacity, and one fewer electric motor (though it also features a petrol engine).

Powering the PHEV was a 132kW/265Nm 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine, mated to a 60kW electric motor and 10.7kWh battery for a combined power output of 192kW.

Drive was sent to the front wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, enabling a 7.3-second dash from zero to 100km/h – and a claimed 46km of all-electric driving range.

While the XC40 plug-in hybrid will bow out, Volvo Australia will expand the electric XC40 range with a new $72,990 single-motor variant, as part of a mid-life facelift due in showrooms from this July (above).

The company will launch five new electric vehicles over the coming years, led by the new C40 Recharge ‘coupe’ SUV – due in Australia in late 2022 – and next year’s XC90-sized Embla large SUV, likely to arrive in Australia no earlier than the second half of 2023.

The Volvo XC60 and XC90 Recharge plug-in hybrids will remain on sale in Australia for now, as no fully-electric versions are available.

Alex Misoyannis

Alex Misoyannis has been writing about cars since 2017, when he started his own website, Redline. He contributed for Drive in 2018, before joining CarAdvice in 2019, becoming a regular contributing journalist within the news team in 2020. Cars have played a central role throughout Alex’s life, from flicking through car magazines as a young age, to growing up around performance vehicles in a car-loving family.

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