The XC40 Recharge Pure Electric P8 is the first of several fully electric Volvos to come, and the automaker said today's production start represents a significant step towards its ambition to reduce its CO2 footprint per car by 40% by 2025. That same year, it expects 50 per cent of its global sales to consist of fully electric cars, with the rest hybrids.

Customer demand for the XC40 Recharge P8 has been strong and, while order books remain open, every car scheduled to be built this calendar year has already been sold. The first cars should be delivered to customers in Europe later this month.

The start of customer car production follows a period of preparation in which the Ghent (Belgium) plant has built a limited number of pre-production cars. This process, standard procedure for every new model, aims to optimise the production flow and ensure top quality of every car built. All relevant production staff have also received extensive training on safely building electric cars.

"Today is a momentous occasion for Volvo Cars and for all employees here in Ghent," said Javier Varela, head of global industrial operations and quality. "As we continue to electrify our line-up, the Ghent plant is a real trailblazer for our global manufacturing network."

The XC40 Recharge P8 is based on the Compact Modular Architecture (CMA), the vehicle platform co-developed and shared within the Geely Group.

The all wheel drive Recharge P8 offers a projected range of more than 249 miles (400km, WLTP) on a single charge and output of 408hp. The battery can charge to 80% of its capacity in approximately 40 minutes on a fast charger system.

The new, Android-powered infotainment system offers customers "unprecedented" personalisation, improved levels of intuitiveness and embedded Google technology and services, such as Assistant, Maps and Play Store. The Recharge P8 also receives larger software and operating system updates over the air.

Engineers have completely redesigned and reinforced the frontal structure to address the absence of an ICE engine.

The battery pack is protected by a safety cage embedded in the middle of the body structure. Its placement in the floor also lowers the centre of gravity, for better protection against roll-overs.

Inside, an innovative approach to all-round functionality gives drivers plenty of storage space, for example in the doors, under the seats and in the luggage compartment. Because it has no internal combustion engine, the car has even more storage space thanks to a so-called 'frunk' (front trunk) under the bonnet.