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[Test Drive] Volvo C40 Recharge introduces one-pedal driving

Swedish automaker’s new EV boasts longer driving range, higher efficiency

Sept. 18, 2023 - 15:09 By Kan Hyeong-woo
Volvo's C40 Recharge (Volvo Cars Korea)

GANGNEUNG -- Manual cars, typically older models, have three pedals: an accelerator, a brake and a clutch. Automatic vehicles have two pedals: an accelerator and a brake. Battery electric vehicles still come with the same two pedals. The C40 Recharge, Volvo’s EV crossover, however, has taken it a step further, presenting an opportunity to essentially drive with only one pedal.

The Korea Herald had the chance to test the C40 Recharge from Gangeung to Goseong in Gangwon Province as part of a media experience day on Sept. 13.

While the EV crossover has two pedals -- one accelerator and one brake -- it also allows drivers to use only one pedal to speed up or slow down by either pressing or depressing the accelerator using Volvo's One Pedal Drive mode.

Volvo Cars Korea explained that One Pedal Drive is ideal for city driving with a speed of between 35 and 40 kilometers per hour, a range that maximizes the vehicle’s regenerative braking. The system of regenerative braking in an EV refers to a process of gaining kinetic energy that would be lost during braking otherwise. The energy is transferred to the car’s battery as electricity so it can be used to power the motor engine.

The One Pedal Drive mode can be operated in three different positions -- off, on and auto. When off, the driver feels no brake force when the foot is released from the accelerator. The automatic position switches on One Pedal Mode’s high braking effect only when driving at a speed lower than 50 kph.

Once One Pedal Drive mode is fully on, the driver does not have to worry about putting their foot down on the brake if enough distance is secured between the car and the vehicle ahead and the traffic lights. All the driver has to do is control the angle of their right foot to determine the speed of the car by thoroughly reading the traffic.

Driving in One Pedal Drive mode feels akin to playing a racing game, but in a much more realistic setting. The C40 Recharge can easily come to a stop if given the space to slow down in phases by securing enough distance.

The 2024 C40 Recharge has been equipped with an upgraded powertrain with motors boasting higher efficiency. The driving distance per charge is now 407 kilometers, up 51 km from last year’s model. The test drive, which covered about 88 km, began with the battery at a 67 percent charging rate. The car’s remaining battery level stood at 43 percent after the nearly 90-km test drive.

The C40 Recharge also has an upgraded Tmap infotainment system. The artificial intelligence assistant, Aria, lets the driver focus on driving by recognizing a wide range of voice commands including setting navigation routes, searching for information online and finding the nearest charging points. The driver can even set routines for certain times on specific days so that the vehicle can automatically show the route and provide information such as weather and stock market indexes.

The local price of the 2024 C40 Recharge begins at 68.6 million won ($51,500).

The Tmap infotainment system 2.0 installed in the Volvo C40 Recharge's center display (Volvo Cars Korea)