Climate change deniers may not believe there is a market for electric vehicles, but Volvo — in addition to a number of other automobile makers — does. In fact, from 2019, Volvo will only be selling vehicles which are partially or completely battery-powered.
Between 2019 and 2021, the firm will launch five 100% electric models in its plight to phase out internal combustion engines. The rest of its conventional petrol and diesel range vehicles will have a hybrid engine of some sort. If the news seems bold, that’s because it is! Volvo is the first major manufacturer to make such an audacious move, as The Guardian points out.
Said Håkan Samuelsson, the Volvo chief executive: “This announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car.” Samuelsson added that the company is responding to customers who have asked for more eco-friendly cars. The move will also help the Swedish firm meet legally-binding carbon targets for new vehicles which are sold in the EU starting in 2020.
Because Volvo has not yet built a fully electric vehicle, it can’t directly compete with companies such as Tesla. However, it will still appeal to the market with a basic plug-in hybrid version of its XC90 SUV crossover, which is expected to sell for £61,650 ($ 79,640.39 USD) — £13,250 ($ 17,116.55 USD) more than the diesel version.
When asked if the announcement is a declaration that diesel is dead, Samuelsson said: “Long-term, diesel will get more and more expensive, because it requires some after-treatment.” In May, the chief executive mentioned that Volvo was considering ceasing all development of next-generation diesel engines.
In acknowledgment of Tesla’s Model 3 — which will finally go on sale this Friday, Samuelson stated, said: “It’s a tough competitor. But with this decision we are really becoming the second premium car maker in the world which will also be all-electrified.”
The first of Volvo’s electric cars will be built in China, followed by Europe and the U.S. Considering some experts believe electric vehicles will overtake cars and trucks with internal combustion engines within the next few years, it seems Volvo is making an intelligent move.
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