All Volvo vehicle models introduced after 2019 will be electric or hybrids, the automaker stated on Wednesday, making it the first significant traditional automaker to schedule a date for phasing out vehicles powered entirely by the internal combustion engine.
The Sweden-based automaker will continue to produce pure combustion-engine Volvos from models released prior to that date, but its move indicates the ultimate end of almost a century of Volvos powered exclusively that way.
While electric and hybrid vehicles are still just a little portion of new vehicles sales, they are picking up speed at the premium end of the market, where Volvo runs and where Elon Musk’s Tesla has been a pure-play battery automaker from the first day. As technology advances and rates fall, many in the industry anticipate mass-market adoption to follow.
“This announcement marks the end of the exclusively combustion engine-powered vehicle,” Volvo Cars CEO Hakan Samuelsson stated.
The automaker, owned by Geely Holding, said 5 brand-new models set to be released in 2019 through 2021 – three of them Volvos and 2 Polestar-branded – would all be totally electric.
“These five automobiles will be supplemented by a series of gas and diesel plug in hybrid and mild hybrid 48-volt options on all models,” Volvo stated. “This indicates that there will in future be no Volvo vehicles without an electric motor.”
The electrical models will be developed at Volvo plants globally – it has factories in Europe and China and is building one in the United States – while development costs will be met from within its present spending plan, Samuelsson informed Reuters.
“This likewise indicates we will not be doing other things. We obviously will not be developing totally new generations of combustion engines,” he stated about future investment needs.
Volvo has invested heavily in new models and plants since it is owned by Geely from 2010, developing a niche in a premium car market dominated by bigger competitors such as Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz and BMW.