If Volvo was a TV show, we’d start with a tense voice saying “Previously on…” and note that Volvo has been pushing towards electrification for a while now. Specifically, Volvo Cars has previously said that 50 percent of its sales would be fully electric by 2025. This history shouldn’t take anything away from today’s announcement, but it’s worth putting the news into context.
Which brings us to this new “season” of this show, otherwise known as today’s announcement: Volvo will be eliminating combustion engines by 2030, including all hybrid models, and shifting entirely to all-electric powertrain over the next decade. In a video announcing the shift, Volvo looked back at its history of promoting safety but then took a turn with this line on the screen: “Climate change is the ultimate safety test. That’s why we’re changing to all-electric.”
“There is no longterm future for cars with an internal combustion engine,” said Henrik Green, Volvo’s chief technology officer, in a statement. “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.”
Volvo chief executive Håkan Samuelsson added that this EV-only strategy will allow Volvo to remain successful and profitable. “We are fully focused on becoming a leader in the fast-growing premium electric segment,” he said.
As part of the big announcement, Volvo also took the wraps off of a new all-electric CUV today called the C40 Recharge. Full details are not yet available, but we do know that the C40 Recharge points at the direction future Volvos will go thanks to a new front end with pixel-technology headlights. The C40 Recharge will use the CMA vehicle platform and is the first Volvo model designed specifically to be an electric vehicle and the first to be completely free of leather. The C40 Recharge’s powertrain will use two electric motors, one on each axle, and a 78kWh battery that will offer a range of around 260 miles. The good news if you just thought “is that all?” is that the range “is expected to improve over time via over-the-air software updates,” Volvo said.
Volvo will start building the C40 Recharge this fall in Ghent, Belgium, alongside the company’s first EV, the XC40 Recharge. In line with another big shift for the automaker, it will sell the C40 Recharge online only and is going to offer all of its future EVs soley through simplified online channels called “Care by Volvo,” an expansion of the subscription service with the same name. There will be no haggling – the price is the price – and the EVs will all come with “specially developed Recharge tires,” that are supposed to be safe all year round.