Automaker Volvo has just announced that it is switching all operations over to electrical vehicles and, as such, will no longer manufacture combustion-only cars, starting in 2019. Essentially, all Volvo vehicles after this will be fully electric or hybrid.
“This announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car,” explains Volvo president and chief executive Hakan Samuelsson. “Volvo Cars has stated that it plans to have sold a total of 1 million electrified cars by 2025. When we said it we meant it. This is how we are going to do it.”
Of course, the move will make Volvo the first traditional automaker to set a deadline for phasing out cars powered solely by internal combustion engines. In addition, the company has also said that it plans to launch five fully electric car models between 2019 and 2021. Three of these new models will be released under the Volvo brand while the other two will sold under the company’s “electrified performance” Polestar brand.
Samuelsson goes on to say, “This is about the customer. People increasingly demand electrified cars and we want to respond to our customer’s current and future needs.”
It is important to note, too, that Volvo’s announcement comes, conveniently, the same week as Tesla rolls out the new Model 3 electric vehicle. This is significant, of course, because the new Model 3 will hit the market with a retail value of about $35,000 and that is half the starting price of Tesla’s other sedan, the Model S.
Perhaps in light of Tesla’s move—perhaps not—Samuelsson emphasized that Volvo plans to sell in the premium market. Ford had sold Volvo to the Chinese company Geely for about $1.8 billion in 2010 and China continues to lead the world in electric car sales. Last year, the country sold about 256,000 electric vehicles. Samuelsson has also confirmed that China does make up a lot of the electric-vehicle market, but car’s sold in China are typically the lower-priced models (not the luxury models like what Tesla typically offers).
In general, luxury automakers have all been making announcements regarding major electric-vehicle efforts over the past and coming months. BMW, for one, just recently revealed a new, all-electric version of its popular 3-series sedan. Mercedes-Benz has also announced a plan to invest in the Mercedes-EQ electric model; and its parent, Daimler AG, also let it be known plans to invest $700 million in electric vehicles for the Chinese market.