The age of the pure electric premium car market is getting closer, with Volvo Cars announcement that it will only sell electric vehicles (EV) by 2030.
Insisting there is “no long-term future for cars with an internal combustion engine”, Volvo expects to sell its last combustion-powered hybrid car in 2029 ahead of a wholesale switch to EVs.
Following close behind Jaguar’s confirmation that it will only sell EVs by 2025, CEO Håkan Samuelsson said Volvo would also move to an online-only model for ordering its upcoming EVs, while somehow retaining its entire dealer network.
Samuelsson revealed his ambition to turn Volvo into an EV-only company by 2030 during a discussion in December 2020, but the company has now revealed how it will be done, and why.
As with Jaguar, the move will position Volvo in a straight fight with Tesla on the same playing field for the first time, without the profit boost traditionally provided by combustion powertrains to support the EV costs.
Volvo was one of the first OEMs to move towards electrification of its entire range, in a cunningly worded statement two years ago, and it aims for EVs to make up half of its production by 2025.
“That has made us more profitable. Why should we see this development as something negative? We see it as an opportunity,” Samuelsson said during a round-table interview with journalists.
“To remain successful, we need profitable growth. So instead of investing in a shrinking business, we choose to invest in the future – electric and online.
“We are fully focused on becoming a leader in the fast-growing premium electric segment.”
Volvo has just one EV on sale today: a variant of the XC40 that also comes with gasoline, diesel and hybrid powertrains.
It plans to reveal its second EV later today, believed to be based on the S40 sedan.
“There is no long-term future for cars with an internal combustion engine,” Volvo’s chief technology officer Henrik Green insisted.
“We are firmly committed to becoming an electric-only car maker and the transition should happen by 2030. It will allow us to meet the expectations of our customers and be a part of the solution when it comes to fighting climate change,” he said.
While Volvo no longer sells diesel-powered vehicles in the US, it will end production of diesel-powered vehicles for the rest of the world as new models are phased in, which could mean the end of diesels by 2025 or 2026 following its normal product cycle.
It leaves the Polestar brand in a strange place, with the higher-priced spin-off originally positioned as the electric pioneer of the Volvo-based family.
“The company’s transition towards becoming a fully electric car maker is part of its ambitious climate plan, which seeks to consistently reduce the life cycle carbon footprint per car through concrete action,” Volvo said in a statement.
“The decision also builds on the expectation that legislation as well as a rapid expansion of accessible high quality charging infrastructure will accelerate consumer acceptance of fully electric cars.
“Volvo Cars’ move towards full electrification comes together with an increased focus on online sales and a more complete, attractive and transparent consumer offer under the name Care by Volvo. All fully electric models will be available online only.”