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Volvo's new XC40 P8 Recharge is the first fully electric car from the brand to launch in SA. Picture: PHUTI MPYANE
Volvo's new XC40 P8 Recharge is the first fully electric car from the brand to launch in SA. Picture: PHUTI MPYANE

Ready or not, the electric revolution is marching into SA. Volvo SA has started delivering its new and all-electric XC40 P8 Recharge to local customers.

The car should have been on sale in August 2021 but the Covid-19 induced semiconductor issues delayed its arrival. It’s here now and deliveries to some SA customers, including a few famous ones, have begun taking place.

It isn’t built as a bespoke electric car though. Instead the twin electric motors and a 78kWh battery pack are imported into a regular XC40 body shell. 

Physically there is not much difference between the P8 and regular XC40 models, except that at the front there is now a solid plate that replaces a conventional grille, and there are charging ports inside the fuel filler cap.

It has the same airy interior with crafted seats and likable décor. The touch-operated digital display gets an operational upgrade ahead of the rest of the models and introduces new features such as a Google search. It also comes with over-the-air updates, which will stream in new apps and features as the model progresses.

Enhancements in the new P8 include a reworked digital display. Picture: SUPPLIED
Enhancements in the new P8 include a reworked digital display. Picture: SUPPLIED

Mechanical outputs are 304kW and 660Nm sent to all four wheels. Claimed performance is 4.9 seconds from standstill to 100km/h. The driving range is 418km and it takes up to 40 minutes to recharge to 80% battery capacity.

These figures promise to make the P8 Recharge usable in urban areas. According to Vic Campher, dealer principal where we went for our first peek, most P8 Recharge customers are tech-savvy early adopters of sustainable living whose homes already harvest solar energy. This car is an extension of their green lives.

Speaking to Motor News at one of the oldest Volvo dealerships in SA, Tom Campher Motors in Jozi, Volvo SA CEO Greg Maruszewski acknowledges the challenges for electric cars in SA, such as not enough EV sales and charging infrastructure.

“If there aren’t enough sales of EVs it also becomes difficult to invest in a network of chargers,” says Maruszewski.

As Volvo isn’t in a position to implement its own network, customers should use existing infrastructure such as home wallbox chargers and public charging stations.

Customers who buy the P8 Recharge get free use of a petrol-powered XC40 for two weeks to alleviate the long charging hours, should they need to undertake longer journeys.

On the outlook of future models, Maruszewski says we can expect the new XC60, the C40 Recharge, essentially a coupe version of the XC40, the new XC90 and another model that is a Volvo secret.   

The Volvo P8 Recharge sells for R1.2m and is being sold exclusively online via the company’s website.

It comes with a five-year maintenance plan and warranty, with the battery pack covered for eight years or 160,000km, and a home charging wallbox.

Volvo's 95-year existence is bullishly transforming into the electric age with the Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge. Picture: PHUTI MPYANE
Volvo's 95-year existence is bullishly transforming into the electric age with the Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge. Picture: PHUTI MPYANE
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