Sunday Drive: Going all-electric with new Volvo C40 Recharge Twin Ultimate
To add to the excitement of the season, our friends at DriveShop have set up a three-week run of all-electric cars for us. For that reason, during the next three weeks, we will have articles featuring the 2022 Volvo C40 Recharge Twin Ultimate, an Audi e-tron GT and the Genesis GV60 Performance.
We were thrilled to have the opportunity to get some quality time behind the wheel of some awesome vehicles, but we were also eager to find out what it would be like to have an all-electric vehicle as our normal driver for everyday life.
A couple of months ago, we had our first loan of an all-electric vehicle: the new BMW i4. At the time, we decided that if we were going to test these types of vehicles, it would be prudent to install a level 2 charger in our garage so we would be able to fully charge the cars overnight. Simply plugging them into the wall will not get them to a full charge in that time frame.
At the time, we decided on a Grizzl-E charger. It is easy to use and will charge pretty much any electric vehicle up to a 40-amp output by just plugging the car into the charger. Because there are all types of chargers on the market, with some even sending messages and working with smartphones, there may be a better solution for you if you are keeping a vehicle for a longer period of time and want more information about how and when to charge your vehicle and how much energy is being used.
This particular charger costs about $460 on Amazon. It seemed the simple solution for us as we would have different cars and people using the charger. The drivers delivering cars to our house can now immediately plug them in to charge.
The Volvo C40 is our first foray into the electrified SUV world, and it proved to be a very good area in which to get our feet wet. This mid-sized SUV would be perfect for empty nesters such as us as it proved to be very easy both to get into it and to get it around town.
The C40 was also extremely quick on the upstart, having all the get-up-and-go we could have wanted as it slotted in with 402 horsepower and 489 foot-pounds of torque. Yes, it would put us back in our seats and be up to speed and beyond in a flash, registering a 0-to-60 time of just 4.2 seconds. This is an awesome number for any SUV.
After driving a couple of these electrified cars now, it has become quite apparent that anyone could easily become quite addicted to the speed. Frankly, these vehicles go much faster than we would have expected in a very short period of time. It does take some getting used to, but on the other hand, it greatly boosts the adrenaline.
We had the Volvo during the first week of November, which brought some other struggles associated with having an all-electric car. They all have a number quoted for range when fully charged; the Volvo, for example, was anticipated to provide an excellent 250 miles at 100% charge.
This, however, can be a little deceiving if you are planning a longer outing on any given day. Craig experienced this on the Tuesday of our test week during a trip up to the Standard-Examiner office in Ogden, a round trip of 166 miles. This day started with a temperature of 55 but ended in the lower 30s.
He learned that the range was decreased by 30 miles immediately if he wanted to run the heat at 76 degrees to stay warm. Then, when heading home, he found that engaging the seat warmers took away another 20 miles if he chose to keep them on for the entire trip.
This is not the fault of the manufacturer as estimated range is for how far the vehicle will travel on a full charge with no other influences on the battery. However, without the combustion engine, the heat has to come from somewhere. Thus, the battery life was decreased for the trip.
Craig was able to complete his journey on just the one charge while keeping the temperature at 74 degrees and the seat warmers on their lowest setting. However, there were just 25 miles left on the charge when he returned home, and the C40 indicated it would take nine hours to reach a full charge again on our level 2 home charger.
For the week, we averaged 38.4 kilowatt hours per 100 miles, or 2.6 miles per kwh, for a cost of 3.8 cents per mile driven, using our home as the charging source. Compare that to a vehicle that gets 30 miles per gallon: At $4 per gallon, it would cost 12 cents per mile to drive. That being said, if you charge the car at a charging station, where the cost is around 43 cents per kwh in Utah, you would pay the same 12 cents per mile.
The C40 is loaded with all kinds of creature comforts and safety features and comes with a 12.3-inch digital driving LED display that can add all kinds of information to the drive. The infotainment screen is a 9-inch-wide touch screen that came in very useful as we kept track of all the different information available in the new world of electric cars.
Volvo does a fantastic job of including safety features in its vehicles, and they are still the safest on the market. We love the cruise control and lane keep assist as they always make long drives in heavy traffic bearable.
The new C40 proved to be a very capable daily driver, getting us around to do the normal things in life we needed to accomplish, but it would prove a challenge to take on a vacation as charging stations and time would need to be accounted for. It made for an engaging week of driving with a whole new world of information and technology included.
In the final article of our three reviewing electric vehicles, we will take a trip to St. George in an all-electric car, forcing us to “fill up” along the way on public chargers. That will likely prove to be a very different experience than simply filling the tank with petrol.
Base price: $58,750
Destination charge: $1,095
Price as driven: $60,540