Volvo and Polestar’s electric Tesla rivals get their official EPA range results

Chris Davies - Oct 7, 2020, 8:27am CDT
Volvo and Polestar’s electric Tesla rivals get their official EPA range results

Two of the most eagerly-anticipated new electric cars of the year have their official US range figures, with the 2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge and the 2021 Polestar 2 finally getting EPA test results. The two EVs could reasonably be described as cousins, given their similarities under the sheet metal and indeed in the cabin, with Polestar being Volvo’s electric collaboration with Geely.

If there is any distant-sibling rivalry, Polestar 2 may be the EV crowing. It’s rated for 233 miles of total range on the EPA’s cycle, for a 92 MPGe combined rating, 96 MPGe in the city, and 88 MPGe on the highway.

For the XC40 Recharge – the all-electric, all-wheel drive version of the XC40 compact crossover – the numbers are slightly less impressive. The EPA rates that as good for 208 miles on a full charge, or 79 MPGe combined. Its city rating is 85 MPGe, while its highway rating is 72 MPGe.

They’re solid numbers, though not outstanding. Polestar’s range figure, indeed, falls quite a bit short of what the automaker was talking about aiming to achieve. Back when we drove the Polestar 2, the company only had its European WLTP range testing results – which are typically more generous in their final number than the EPA’s figures – which suggested 291 miles. The Polestar team, though, said they were expecting somewhere in the mid-200 mile point from the EPA.

The reality is that, for most drivers, 200+ miles of range is more than sufficient for typical use. It also lands the Polestar 2 and XC40 Recharge right in the midst of most of the electric vehicles on offer in the US at the moment. The 2020 Jaguar I-Pace, for example, is rated by the EPA at 234 miles of range; the 2020 Audi e-tron Sportback, meanwhile, clocks in at 218 miles.

The outlier – and, unfortunately for Volvo and Polestar – natural comparison, though, is Tesla. Its Model Y crossover clocks in at 316 miles in Long Range AWD form, or 315 miles for the Performance AWD version. That’s more than 100 miles more than the XC40 Recharge.

The Tesla Model Y Long Range AWD starts at $49,990 before incentives, while the Polestar 2 currently starts at $59,900 for the “Launch Edition” trim. Eventually there’ll be cheaper versions, and Polestar is eligible for the full, $7,500 federal tax incentive that Tesla buyers can no longer get. Even so, the numbers do line up to make the cars close competitors.

On the Volvo side, final pricing is yet to be announced for the 2021 XC40 Recharge in the US. Back when it announced the car in October 2019, though, the Swedish automaker said it expected it to land at around $48,000 after incentives.

Clearly, there’s more to an electric vehicle than range numbers alone, and as we’ve seen numerous times the EPA’s official figures aren’t necessarily what drivers will actually see in day-to-day use. Nonetheless, there’s definitely some work to be done as automakers look to challenge Tesla’s reputation in the segment.

The Polestar 2 is available to order now, while the XC40 Recharge began production earlier this month and should arrive in the US later this year. All of the XC40 Recharge scheduled to be built in 2020 have already been sold, Volvo said in a statement.


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