The following is a discussion with Aussie electric vehicle (EV) owner Evan, who has a Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric Twin Motor in NSW.
EDITOR: I’m going to publish a regular series of articles with the views of Australian EV owners about their purchase, driving, servicing, charging etc experience.
This will help fill an information gap as the majority of electric car news articles are about new car launches and there’s relatively little published about the longer term Australian ownership experience after you’ve paid for your electric car. Hopefully this shared information helps other Aussies make their own EV purchase decision.
Was your electric car bought or leased?
It was purchased new.
Please describe your purchasing / lease process experience … Easy, Mediocre, Frustrating..?
Frustrating due to delays in manufacture. Ordered April 2022, expected August 2022.
Only received in February 2023 due to delays relating to power rationing and Covid lockdowns in China.
What has the regular servicing / dealership experience been like?
Dealership experience was fine but would much prefer just to purchase online, it’s sometimes difficult to get timely updates from the dealer.
How do you regularly charge your car for day to day usage?
Plug in to specially installed faster EV charger at home (smart unit that only uses solar).
What has your day to day normal charging experience been like?
Zappi charger is rock solid at home, we maintain two electric vehicles in Eco+ mode which uses solar only. I have also been able to plug my car in at the local railway station into a regular 10A socket (with permission from TfNSW) and this is able to top the car back up to 90% up while I am at work.
How do you charge your car for longer road trips on the weekend or during holidays? Do you prefer any particular brand of public fast charger during road trips eg Evie, Tesla, Chargefox and why?
Have used BP Pulse locally while it is free. My preference is to use free chargers where I can (e.g UWS – though they recently made it staff/student only) however I have accounts with Evie, Chargefox, Tesla, Jolt etc. so will charge wherever makes the most sense.
The biggest frustration with the NRMA chargers is being unable to see their status online before going there so you don’t know if it’s offline, occupied etc apart from limited info from PlugShare.
If you have roadside assist included with the car purchase/lease and have had to use it, which company provided the service and what was that experience like?
5 years roadside provided by Volvo, have not had to use it.
If you have had issues with your car and asked for these to be fixed under warranty, did the car brand do the right thing and fix it without causing you stress?
I have one minor issue with a buzzing noise from the interior ambient lighting and am awaiting further information from Volvo.
What are the 3 strongest aspects of your electric car compared to other similar price electric cars available in Australia?
- It’s great value for a twin motor vehicle in Australia
- It looks like a normal car, apart from the grille being replaced with a solid piece of colour bodywork and the recharge badge it looks like any other XC40 on the road
- There is already an established servicing network for the brand in the country so it will be easier to resolve issues with the car.
What are the 3 weakest aspects of your electric car compared to other similar price electric cars available in Australia?
- It’s quite an inefficient car, being a heavy Volvo and having twin motors that are always in twin mode it sits around the 18-22kWh/100km efficiency mark.
- The infotainment screen is good with Android Automotive but a lot of functions are lacking e.g OPD (one pedal driving) on or off only rather than offering levels of regeneration breaking. The size of the screen is fairly small for an EV. Coming from a household with a Polestar the P2 has a much larger screen, slicker interface and a lot more options to customise the drive and feel of the car.
- The drivers display doesn’t have any CarPlay functionality, if you want to use maps from CarPlay they will only show on the main screen and nowhere else, the only thing that shows in the centre part of the drivers display is the built in google maps or nothing. I prefer to use Waze for crowdsourced alerts of what is happening on the road ahead or Apple maps if I want to share an ETA
Would you buy or lease this brand of electric car again and recommend it to others?
Yes. I am planning to get an MY24 XC40 twin motor which will be a much more efficient car compared to this one with new motors that allow it to go into 2WD mode when cruising to save energy.
Do you have any other comments about your electric car brand, experience etc?
Currently the XC40 EV only comes in two choices single motor and a lower trim or dual motor and the ultimate trim. The lower spec leaves out important things like a 360 camera.
I’m sure lots of people would want the higher spec, a single motor and the larger battery for efficiency and range but are forced to go all the way for a twin motor to get the trim and larger battery. This looks like it will change for the MY24 model.
If you’re an Australian electric vehicle owner and would like to participate in this interview series by sharing your experience please contact me directly or add a comment below and let me know.