Volvo designers share how they designed the C40 Recharge

Volvo C40 Recharge

It's easy to think that the C40 Recharge is just an XC40 with a swoopy roof, but Volvo said it's much more than that.  

The Swedish brand said the C40 "represents the future of Volvo," being its first model designed from the start as a pure electric car, and the first to be offered online with "Care by Volvo" offer.

“The C40 is a car that symbolizes electrification and delivers on it,” Volvo Design Head Robin Page said.

“It has the personality of the XC40, which proved to be attractive to many, but it’s dialed up even more through its dynamic expression and sleek profile," he added. 

Made from the building blocks of the XC40, the C40 adds a more athletic look with the sloping roof line. It takes Volvo's signature Thor’s Hammer headlights and added new pixel LEDs, which automatically adjust to light conditions. 

Volvo C40 Recharge

Volvo C40 Recharge

At the rear, the vertical lights extend as one big lamp along the roof line, while also creating a modern take on the brand's signature rear look

Similar to the XC40, the C40 started as a "spontaneous sketch by one of the designers in the team," Volvo said. Yury Zamkavenka’s sketch “hit the ground running from the initial idea," according to head of exterior design T. Jon Mayer. 

“That doesn’t happen very frequently. When it does, it’s always some of the more characterful ideas that flourish, because it’s such a pure statement from that first sketch,” Mayer continued.

According to him, the C40's statement is its commanding seating position combined with a streamlined shape, which becomes apparent "when it’s on the road next to other cars."

Mayer added, “One of my favorite views of the car is the rear seven-eighths, which gives you a view of the side and the coupé line profile.”


“You see the SUV elements as (the vehicle sits) on these really big wheels, and it’s this tough little character but with a very sleek approach to the roof...These combinations give it a totally different expression, while still carrying on our DNA.”

Volvo said that DNA is distinguished by a Scandinavian approach in the detail lines in the C40's body: sections are carved out of the solid form, creating a sense of purity and refinement.

Inside, the design was inspired by "the calming effects of nature." There’s the large, panoramic glass roof that adds an airy feel to the cabin.

“In Sweden, it’s dark and gray most of the year, but when the sun shines, the colors come to life much more vibrantly than anywhere else,” said Volvo Head of Interior Design Lisa Reeves.

Volvo C40 Recharge

Meanwhile, she related modern houses to the C40's interior. "(They) have a lot of glass, designed to really let in the light and the open floor plans spread the light within the house. Light and nature are strong parts of the culture and are important themes for the C40 interior.

The Fjord Blue color, inspired by the deep inlets on the Scandinavian west coast, flows from the exterior and creates a continuation inside by coloring the large swaths of carpet on the cabin's floor and door panels.

Meanwhile, sustainable materials are used for the interior. The trim panels are partly made of recycled plastic, while the carpet is made of 100 percent recycled plastic bottles.

The C40 wears Volvo’s first leather-free interior, with one upholstery option containing naturally renewable wool fibers, and a second option of suede textile and micro-tech material.

Photos from Volvo

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