VOLVO says all the cars it launches from 2019 will be either pure-electric or hybrid, with the phasing out of vehicles powered solely by the internal combustion engine over the following two years as it aims to sell one million electrified vehicles by 2025.
It will launch five fully electric cars between 2019 and 2021, three of which will be Volvo models and two of which will be high-performance electrified cars from Polestar, Volvo Cars’ performance car arm.
Hakan Samuelsson, the chief executive of Volvo Cars, told The Times that the cost of producing diesel vehicles that meet emissions regulations influenced the company’s decision to stop developing new diesel engines. “Long term, diesel will be more and more expensive,” he said. “That is why, cost-wise, we are talking about alternatives.”
Experts say Volvo’s strategy will be followed by other car makers, as diesel sales fall and so-called green cars rise in popularity.
Samuelsson admitted the decision was a U-turn for the company. “Yes, we were a sceptic [about electric cars] because of the cost of batteries and the lack of charging infrastructure. But customer demand is increasing, battery costs have come down and there has been movement on infrastructure.”
However, he warned that Britain’s poor charging infrastructure could limit its importance to car makers like Volvo.
There are 12,000 public car charging points at just over 4,000 locations in the UK, according to data from the Zap-Map website. The Sunday Times has previously revealed how users are often frustrated by finding many are broken or incompatible with their electric car.
The announcement comes in the same week that Tesla begins production of its Model 3 electric car, which is the Californian car maker’s attempt to move electric cars into the mass market. It claims to hold over 400,000 refundable deposits for the Model 3.
As well as the aimed reduction in carbon emissions, Volvo says its factories will be climate-neutral by 2025.
“This announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car,” said Samuelsson. “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 company’s product line up and sales performance has flourished since Volvo was sold by Ford to Geely, a Chinese car company, for £1.2bn in 2010. Ford’s Premier Automotive Group had bought Volvo in 1999 for $6.45bn (£5.26bn).