Electric Vehicles

Electric Vehicles

10 July, 2017
Carmaker Goes All-Electric
Volvo Cars to scrap all internal combustion engines by 2019

Swedish carmaker Volvo has announced an unprecedented decision to scrap all internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles by 2019, and to roll out five 100 per cent electric vehicles from 2019 to 2023. Three of the electric vehicles to be launched will be Volvo models; the other two will be from Polestar, Volvo’s performance company and brand.

But this is not just business for the carmaker—it’s the law. Setting an example for all developing countries, Sweden has promised to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2045, and the law to enact this could be in place as early as 2018. France recently announced plans to ban all gasoline and diesel cars by 2040. In comparison, Britain has committed to cutting greenhouse gases by only 57 per cent but is nowhere near this goal.

“This announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car,” said Mr Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive. “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.” The carmaker has also announced that it will have “climate neutral manufacturing operations” by 2025.

Volvo is owned by Geely Automobile Holdings of China, which is currently the largest market for electric vehicles because of the country’s commitment to stricter pollution controls. This decision and Volvo’s location means that the company will have a head start with the manufacture of cars and batteries. Volvo is the only carmaker to begin completely phasing out ICE vehicles, a decision that coincides with an emissions scandal that rocked the motoring world a few years ago. What a fantastic turnaround from what could have been a public relations disaster.

In 2015, reports emerged from the motoring association Adac that concluded many car manufacturers were fudging emission results. Volvo, Nissan and Fiat were a few that were busted, but the most famous of all was the Volkswagen scandal. Following the epic fail of a West Virginia University road test, it was proven that many Volkswagen cars had been fitted with cheating software that kicked in during regular emissions testing but that the cars resumed polluting—sometimes 40 per cent more emissions—with normal driving.

An estimated 11 million cars and $10 billion later, Volkswagen is now planning on bringing out 30 electric vehicles in response to the scandal. Other companies, including Mercedes, BMW, Audi and Chevy, all plan to roll out their own electric or hybrid vehicles in the next few years, creating welcome competition for Elon Musk’s fleet of Teslas.

Lex Kerssemakers, Volvo’s US head of operations, estimates that the first all-electric model will be $35,000–$40,000, with at least 250 miles of range. Viktor Irle of EV Volumes, which monitors sales and information of electric vehicles worldwide, shared this: “Volvo has the highest sales share of plug-in hybrids among European brands … [the company’s] approach should be important for EVs as a whole by not only making them more accessible, but introducing them to a familiar brand associated with upscale cars.”

Electric vehicles currently make up a small portion of the market because of affordability. With carmakers competing with each for better and cheaper models, prices will go down and charging stations will become more commonplace.

Volvo is not out to meet demand—it’s out there to make it.

By: Adriane Rysz


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