Volvo pushes for an entire electric and hybrid portfolio by 2019

Swedish car manufacturers Volvo has announced today (5 July) that every vehicle launch from 2019 onwards will have an electric motor, in a move described by the company as a "historic end" to the combustion engine.

Volvo Cars has pledged to fully embrace electric vehicles (EVs), plug-in hybrids and mild hybrid cars as part of the commitment, which the company claims is “paving the way for a new chapter in automotive history”.

“This announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car,” Volvo Car’s chief executive Håkan Samuelsson said. “Volvo Cars has stated that it plans to have sold a total of 1m electrified cars by 2025. When we said it we meant it. This is how we are going to do it.”

The commitment was made in response to customer demand, and marks the end of Volvo vehicles only having an internal combustion engine (ICE) as its main component.

The car manufacturer, which is owned by Chinese automotive firm Geely, is yet to roll-out a fully-electric vehicle, although five plug-in hybrid models are available. Volvo Cars will launch five fully-electric models between 2019 and 2021, three of which will be Volvo models and the remaining two will be high-performance Polestar EVs.

The fully-electric models will be supported by a range of petrol and diesel plug-in hybrid 48-volt options across all models, meaning that pure ICE cars will be phased out of the portfolio over time.

Horizon scanning

The decision supports an earlier announcement from Volvo Cars that it will turn Polestar into a separately-branded electrified global high-performance car company. The senior vice president of design at Volvo Cars, Thomas Ingenlath, will head Polestar as its new chief executive.

The focus on new automotive models matches Volvo’s expansion into the autonomous vehicle market. The company is currently involved in the “largest and most extensive autonomous driving testing programme on Britain’s streets”. The first-phase of the £100m, Government-backed project commenced in March 2017.

Volvo Cars’ owner Geely is a big supporter of EVs. The Chinese firm previously raised $400m through Green Bonds priced on the offshore market in the Chinese automobile industry to support the development of zero-emission taxis.

The London Taxi Company (LTC) is a UK subsidiary of Geely and has been testing zero-emission taxis in icy areas of Norway and will soon be cooled and tested in refrigerators reaching -49°C in temperature.

Matt Mace

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