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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, fellow Swedespeeders. N00b here, and first-time Volvo owner. I acquired a 2021 Volvo XC40 T-5 R-Design earlier this year and am just enjoying the hell out of it. A bit too much probably. I came from a very old Ford Escape V6 with slightly less bhp and a lot less torque, and a severely laggy 6-speed auto, that had no balls at any speed. So, five months ago I went car shopping, I test drove two XC40s (after passing on an Audi Q3), one without the Polestar Optimization and one with, and decided on getting the one with it. The difference in drive character was very noticeable to me in the Dynamic/Polestar Engineered drive mode.

So, I'm having my fun and, as much as I am not the modder type, I was just kind of wondering is there any more performance I can squeeze out of this platform, perhaps with just a tuning or minimal extra equipment? It appears to be the same engine as the XC60 that gets 316hp with a supercharger, so is there a way to get somewhere close to that without the extra equipment? Or would it be possible to add a supercharger (only a remote consideration if not too expensive)? Would any such mods interfere with the existing Polestar Optimization or require it to be removed/overwritten? And in case it's not obvious, I'm not a 'car guy' or gearhead, just a mildly wreckless driver and joyrider :p.

Thanks for reading!
 

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I have come from a line of Acura’s and my wife had a 2L Turbo 19 RDX AWD and to us the T5 XC40 produces better usable torque off the line. I am sure the weight advantage helps too, but also the 8AT is just better geared than the Acura 10AT. I. Don’t see any way you are adding 40HP without a great deal of aftermarket work and even then I doubt you get there and it would be cost prohibitive.
 
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Heico offers a tune that will add on top of Polestar but it isn't very practical for 20hp. It is very expensive and not a simple install (it requires hardwiring into the ECU). I've searched and there are few options in terms of performance increase. I got the GruppeM carbon intake which gives the turbo a little more air than the more restrictive factory box but it too is rather pricy for the very slight improvement. I have a post here with details. Dominador's XC40

Another improvement could be the charge pipes (the piping that runs from the turbo to the inter cooler). I found an option from a Chinese company but couldn't find a US retailer. Increasing the diameter of those will improve the turbo lag and give it the ability to push more air. That said you then hit the restrictive intercooler so it isn't going to provide significant improvements.

It would be great to find an aftermarket intercooler with a larger volume and cooling capacity. While it won't produce power it will help you keep the power you have. I'm Texas the heat soak on an intercooler during the summer means significantly lower performance. But this would be the case anywhere as the engine bay heats up and the intercooler becomes less efficient.

Long story short, nope not a lot of great options for us. LOL
 

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Trade in for a Recharge model. Any dealer right now would be thrilled to get your car in trade so you wouldn't lose much there at all. And the Recharge models will put a stupid grin on your face. With the $7500 tax credit (and possible state incentives) this is the least expensive overall option for performance that you'll feel as worthy and noticeable IMO.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
... Long story short, nope not a lot of great options for us. LOL
Thanks for cluing me in, Dominador, and doing the bulk of the legwork already! And that's kind of what I figured. I'd already done some pretty extensive research but was hoping I just wasn't looking for the right things or in the right place. No big deal. XC40 is still fun to drive.

Trade in for a Recharge model. Any dealer right now would be thrilled to get your car in trade so you wouldn't lose much there at all. And the Recharge models will put a stupid grin on your face. With the $7500 tax credit (and possible state incentives) this is the least expensive overall option for performance that you'll feel as worthy and noticeable IMO.
That is a very wise and tempting proposition, D. Looks like the current trade-in value is only $1K-$2K less than what I paid at the dealer. My only gripe with the P8 Recharge is the range. The range already isn't great with the gasoline engine, and with my heavy-footed driving I average 20mpg. With the EPA-rated 208 mile range on the Recharge, I'd expect to see even less. The office where I work does have several EV parking stalls so I could charge daily if I wanted but there are long distance travel situations I undertake (somewhat infrequently) where being stuck in the desert for hours-perhaps even overnight!-on a Level 1 charger makes me groan.

I will definitely take it under advisement, though, and thanks for reminding me of that option! The Recharge was unaffordable to me back at the beginning of the year and was also available in only two colors: white, and some kind of baby $#+! green. Now I see it's available in the Bursting Blue Metallic I've already fallen in love with, and receive compliments for by complete strangers, and the price is more within reach now. Cool!
 

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If everything else works, consider just renting a car for the longer trips. I think that will become more popular for the next few years as we wait for improved ranges. I also see no reason for level two chargers to be popping up all over... they are fairly cheap to install and give folks a reason to stop at your store while they charge. It's a captive audience.
 
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Thanks for cluing me in, Dominador, and doing the bulk of the legwork already! And that's kind of what I figured. I'd already done some pretty extensive research but was hoping I just wasn't looking for the right things or in the right place. No big deal. XC40 is still fun to drive.
TDI Tuning has a piggyback similar to RaceChip that might get some extra power out of the XC40. I've considered giving it a try it is significantly less than Heico and being piggyback it is simple plug and play so you can easily remove it for service and such and avoid having warranty issues. I had something similar albeit much more advanced and beneficial on my VW Golf R. The challenge will always be the restrictiveness of the factory intake system though and again the intercooler. You can only push so much air through the factory piping.

I'd jump on an aftermarket intercooler if someone released one. Same with, although I doubt we'll ever see, an improved exhaust manifold but that would likely provide significant improvements with the turbo. Turbo cars are easy to squeeze power out of and if you consider the entire Volvo line relies on the same 2.0 4cyl it can handle the extra power (look at the T6). Now a T6 conversion kit would be amazing too. That shouldn't be terribly difficult to retrofit since the engine if the same as they just slap a supercharger in line with the turbo for added boost.
 

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The office where I work does have several EV parking stalls so I could charge daily if I wanted but there are long distance travel situations
There are many hotels that offer Level 2 charging for guests, which if possible to stay at during your travels, would be powerful enough to fully charge the XC40 P8 battery overnight while you sleep.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
TDI Tuning has a piggyback similar to RaceChip that might get some extra power out of the XC40. I've considered giving it a try it is significantly less than Heico and being piggyback it is simple plug and play so you can easily remove it for service and such and avoid having warranty issues.
I did happen to also find the TDI Tuning chip but their quoted enhancements seem dubious at best without actual hardware mods. Granted, I don't know enough about engines to refute their claims but they're basically stating their chip will meet or beat the T6 engine specs of the XC60 with only the in-line ECU tweaks. I also saw a video where a dyno test of their chip showed it getting half the gains they claimed it would, somewhere around 10% instead of 20%. However, that video was produced by a competitor that does full ECU remapping, so conflict of interest...

I'd jump on an aftermarket intercooler if someone released one. Same with, although I doubt we'll ever see, an improved exhaust manifold but that would likely provide significant improvements with the turbo. Turbo cars are easy to squeeze power out of and if you consider the entire Volvo line relies on the same 2.0 4cyl it can handle the extra power (look at the T6). Now a T6 conversion kit would be amazing too. That shouldn't be terribly difficult to retrofit since the engine if the same as they just slap a supercharger in line with the turbo for added boost.
That would be incredibly awesome but it seems auto manufacturers are going the route of Apple these days-not to throw too much shade on Apple, I do use their products but they are notorious for making their products difficult or outright impossible to user-service without permanently damaging them, and also limit their products' aftermarket modifiability/upgradeability. It seems auto manufacturers are cracking down on aftermarket modding maybe to encourage (force) buyers into purchasing more sportier trims with better performance (that have higher profit margins), which wouldn't be so terrible, but in this case Volvo doesn't really have anything like Audi's S-line, BMW's M-series, or Mercedes-Benz's AMG. That's kind of a tangent, though.

There are many hotels that offer Level 2 charging for guests, which if possible to stay at during your travels, would be powerful enough to fully charge the XC40 P8 battery overnight while you sleep.
It's more of a day-trip situation, roughly 2h 15-30min drive time, 135 miles (216km), leave home mid-morning, stay until the early evening, probably 8-9 hours, and drive back. The destination is a small desert town with what appears to be only two Blink chargers, 2 available slots each. I will most likely never spend the night, especially not to just charge a car. I would also not qualify the area as one I'd feel comfortable leaving my car unsupervised for 40+ minutes to recharge, so I'd have to stay with it, either cutting into my visit time or adding that time to my overall commute. It's not a showstopper issue exactly, just a mild nuisance that highlights the one remaining, somewhat substantial inconvenience of EVs. Even if my current XC40 had the same lackluster range, it would still only take me ~5 minutes to fill it up and be back on the road. I do appreciate the advice, though. If I get the funds to make the switch, I'll expand the search area around my destination to maybe a 20-25 minute radius and see what's available for charging but I genuinely don't believe there will be much available. It's a smallish town on the edge of a desert national park and while there are much larger resort towns in the region with all the modern amenities, they're at best 30-45 minutes in any direction but the one I am heading. ?‍♂
 

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If everything else works, consider just renting a car for the longer trips. I think that will become more popular for the next few years as we wait for improved ranges. I also see no reason for level two chargers to be popping up all over... they are fairly cheap to install and give folks a reason to stop at your store while they charge. It's a captive audience.
Your point is taken ; but have you tried to rent a car lately?? Dang.
 

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This won't be the normal for the industry which is what is killing rental agencies. But for the rest of the year there won't be enough cars.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I forgot about the issue with rental car agency inventory shortages. All the rental car agencies dumped most of their inventory at the start of the pandemic and they were all snatched up by the used market because people didn't want to use public transportation. Now those agencies can't replenish their inventories. Also, we're still stuck in the midst of a worldwide semiconductor and microchip shortage that, last I read, is not expected to reach pre-pandemic production levels until Spring 2022. I was kind of shocked to see that the dealership from which I bought my XC40 T5 had plenty of XC40 P8s. Still, it's kind of a seller's market for the time being and, while I may get good money for my trade-in, it doesn't look like a lot of new inventory will be sold below MSRP. In fact, I'm seeing most vehicles listed at or a few hundred bucks over MSRP, a far cry from the thousands below MSRP I paid six months ago.

And at the risk of sounding like a complainer or just plain lazy, as a prospective EV owner, I don't want to have to book a rental car every time I want to take a long roadtrip. I don't feel like electric car ranges, especially with the XC40 P8, and the fast-charging infrastructure needed to make them remotely convenient for extended drives, are necessarily where they should be for extensive gasoline replacement and I'm just not keen on feeling like a 'beta tester' for the EV revolution. My next upgrade may just have to be a V6 ICE. Crossovers in that same price range (as the XC40 P8) won't have nearly the power-but roughly 85% of it-and they'll get close to double the range. That's a compromise I can live with.

Still, this is all a ways down the road. I really do love my XC40 and I'm not ready to give it up. As I said before, the power is more than sufficient, it's just kind of opened my eyes to what I'd really like out of my dream crossover/SUV. I did buy it specifically for what Volvo's reputation has always been my entire life: the ultimate in safety. The roads got crazier and more dangerous during the pandemic, and I wanted a car that I knew had my back, not one that got great track times, necessarily... So, until such time that I can find the sporty, over-powered crossover of my dreams that also has my XC40's impeccable safety ratings-which is probably an automotive paradox-I'll just be enjoying my T5 R-Design.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
As a follow-up, I did price out the P8 Recharge with all the incentives and they aren't currently that great. My state only offers a $2,000 rebate on the XC40 Recharge out of a possible $7,000 on EVs and, while it is eligible for the full $7,500 federal tax credit (which may be getting increased to $12,500 but that remains to be seen), if I understand that credit correctly it does nothing for me because I never owe money-I get a refund every year. So, that still puts the P8 at about $12K higher than the T5, with the savings on the maintenance and fuel for which I'm still not sure will remotely close that gap over the typical 5 - 6-year ownership of the vehicle.

EDIT: I realize that over the course of 5 years gasoline prices may very well go up 100% but so could the cost of electricity without renewables growing like they should to keep up with ever-increasing energy demands and all the new EVs on the road. I'm leaving that out of the equation because I'm neither an economist, geologist, environmental engineer, etc.
 

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As a follow-up, I did price out the P8 Recharge with all the incentives and they aren't currently that great. My state only offers a $2,000 rebate on the XC40 Recharge out of a possible $7,000 on EVs and, while it is eligible for the full $7,500 federal tax credit (which may be getting increased to $12,500 but that remains to be seen), if I understand that credit correctly it does nothing for me because I never owe money-I get a refund every year. So, that still puts the P8 at about $12K higher than the T5, with the savings on the maintenance and fuel for which I'm still not sure will remotely close that gap over the typical 5 - 6-year ownership of the vehicle.

EDIT: I realize that over the course of 5 years gasoline prices may very well go up 100% but so could the cost of electricity without renewables growing like they should to keep up with ever-increasing energy demands and all the new EVs on the road. I'm leaving that out of the equation because I'm neither an economist, geologist, environmental engineer, etc.
Do you get a refund because your withholdings/estimated payments is more than your tax liability, or because your tax liability is so low? The credit is applied towards the tax liability, so if your total tax liability is $10K and your withholdings for the year was $12K, with the $7500 credit you would get a refund of $9500 instead of $2000.

The only situation where you wouldn't get the full credit is if your tax liability is less than $7500. For someone single, that would require your taxable income to be less than $70K, or thereabouts...and honestly if your income is that low, buying a $60K EV probably isn't the best decision.
 
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Do you get a refund because your withholdings/estimated payments is more than your tax liability, or because your tax liability is so low? The credit is applied towards the tax liability, so if your total tax liability is $10K and your withholdings for the year was $12K, with the $7500 credit you would get a refund of $9500 instead of $2000.

The only situation where you wouldn't get the full credit is if your tax liability is less than $7500. For someone single, that would require your taxable income to be less than $70K, or thereabouts...and honestly if your income is that low, buying a $60K EV probably isn't the best decision.
The former: I always get more withheld than I owe, and have a little extra taken out of every paycheck, so I always get a decent refund. My taxable income is notably higher than $70K. I suspected I misunderstood the credit but I could not find one solid example in quite a bit of research of how it would work in my case or any direct language that it would add $7,500 to my refund.
 

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The former: I always get more withheld than I owe, and have a little extra taken out of every paycheck, so I always get a decent refund. My taxable income is notably higher than $70K. I suspected I misunderstood the credit but I could not find one solid example in quite a bit of research of how it would work in my case or any direct language that it would add $7,500 to my refund.
The tax credit works the same way as any other tax credit does; there's nothing special about the way it's applied to your tax return. It's represented on Form 8936, which is used to populate Line 6 of Schedule 3.

See What is IRS Form 1040 Schedule 3? - TurboTax Tax Tips & Videos where it says
Nonrefundable credits can reduce your tax bill to zero, but they can't get you a refund beyond the amount you paid via withholding or estimated taxes.
 
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Fast and loose math here and such questions should always be talked over with your accountant.

If your income tax is 30% and you make $100k, then at the end of the year you would owe $30,000. The $7500 tax credit comes off the $30k owed. It is not affected by the fact that you pay a little each paycheck for an interest free loan to the government. So if you paid $35,000 ahead of time you would normally get get $5k back, but with the tax credit you would get $12,500 back.

However, if you had $100k income and $80k expenses (because you own a farm and even small tractors aren't cheap) then your taxable amount would be $20k. If there was a 25% tax on that income your taxable amount would only be $5k... so the credit would only remove the $5k from the totaled owed, the other $2500 would go away.

And if your accountant is really good and you show no income then the tax credit doesn't help at all.. of course, your accountant could probably arrange things and guide some purchases to wait till next year since they already could have this in their pocket on your behalf.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I'm a simple man; I don't have a personal accountant and have never felt the need for one. I don't own a home, I rent, I've no dependents, I take the standard deduction every year because I'm really not involved in any sort of high stakes games that would require the expertise of a CPA, like stock trading, investing, real estate, etc. I have a series of spreadsheets that I use for calculating things like monthly budgets and car payments and that's about as far down the rabbit hole as I go. I avoid complications as much as possible. :cool:

As far as the the federal EV tax credit goes, it really doesn't sound at all practical. The issue with EVs currently is that they are considerably more expensive up-front than ICEVs. So the solution would be anything that can be immediately leveraged to reduce that up-front purchase cost. A tax credit that becomes available months after the purchase is ultimately worthless if the monthly payment is too high. I feel like too much ado is being made about the credit to sucker potential buyers into purchasing vehicles they can't afford. Might just be the cynic in me... 🤷‍♂️
 

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I honestly rarely work with clients who "what can I afford" is a major part of the equation. Not that everyone is in the money, but the client base is hugely different than what I had when I sold Ford, Kia,or Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep. Honestly a lot of my customers would pay cash if the interest rates went up. It's rare I have a customer who wants to negotiate on payment, and if that were the case for someone then the tax credit wouldn't look appealing to them or make them feel they can afford more than they could anyhow. And frankly, most of the pretend to be rich people pick something like BMW for the brand image.
 
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