Volvo’s first electric vehicle, the XC40 Recharge, wouldn’t have been the same if it wasn’t for the arrival of the Tesla Model 3. Volvo’s chief technology officer, Henrik Green told Automotive News Europe that the introduction of the Model 3 midway through the XC40 Recharge’s development was game-changing.

He cited the Model 3’s battery in particular, stating that Tesla’s decision to offer over 70 kWh of battery capacity in the sedan meant that Volvo had no choice but to respond. “We increased the battery size. We thought we had a good balance between cost and size before, but when we saw that [Model 3] come out we said, maybe they have a point here,” Green told the publication.

So, instead of equipping the XC40 Recharge with a 60-plus kWh battery, Volvo went ahead with the 78 kWh unit. “We put in some extra modules. It moves the price point up a bit but it adds range so we would be in the same area as the Model 3,” said the CTO.

According to the Swedish automaker, the electric SUV (which weighs up to 2,250 kg depending on the level of equipment) boasts a driving range of around 400 km based on WLTP regulations. Comparatively, the Model 3 Long Range gets up to 560 km on a single charge, and pricing starts from 54,090 euros (RM249k) in Europe.

Volvo has yet to reveal the pricing for the XC40 Recharge, but it’s expected to be priced similarly as the Polestar 2, which will retail for between 40,000 (RM184k) to 60,000 euros (RM276k).

To add to that, Green also revealed another secret about the XC40 Recharge. “I wasn’t confident when we made this decision three years ago, to make the XC40 Recharge Volvo’s first battery-electric vehicle. I thought it was much more of a gamble, but now I think it’s in the perfect position.”

At market launch next year, the XC40 Recharge is set to be the only full-electric SUV within the 40,000 to 60,000 euro price range. Other rivals are much more expensive, such as the Jaguar I-Pace at 79,450 euros (RM366k), Mercedes-Benz EQC at 71,281 euros (RM328k), and the Tesla Model X at 91,700 euros (RM422k). Green’s only regret now? “That we couldn’t have it on the market yesterday.”

GALLERY: Volvo XC40 Recharge