The world's safest EV? Electric Volvo XC40 confirmed for NZ
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It's long been maintained that Tesla's range are the safest EVs (and among the safest cars) on the planet, according to groups like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). If there's anyone who can topple them from that perch, it's Volvo.
The Volvo XC40 is one of our favourite SUVs, which is in part why it made it into last year's Driven AA New Zealand Car of the Year festivities. And now the quirky SUV's local line-up is set to grow with the addition of two electrified models.
Volvo revealed a plug-in XC40 last week in Europe — a model that's already on offer in China. It's powered by a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol three-cylinder engine making 134kW of power and 265Nm of torque, hooked to a 61kW/160Nm electric motor and a 10.7kWh lithium-ion battery pack.
A fully electric model is set to be formally unveiled by Volvo in the coming months. Details around the powertrain are yet to be confirmed, but it's been speculated that it could be derived from the Polestar 2.
The Tesla-rivalling Polestar comes with a dual-motor system that makes a punchy 300kW/660Nm. It's not improbable that an electric XC40 could make do with just one of those two motors, and channel 150kW of power and 330Nm of torque to the front wheels alone.
Volvo claims that the plug-in XC40 hybrid can travel 46km on electric charge alone, with overall fuel consumption of 2.0L/100km. The EV meanwhile should be expected to travel over 450km to a full charge, although this hasn't been confirmed yet.
A Volvo New Zealand spokesperson told Driven that the 'twin-engine' plug-in hybrid variant is expected to land here in the second half of next year, while the battery EV is expected to follow suit at some point in 2021.
More specific launch timing, final spec, and pricing will become clearer in due course.
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