Volvo will cease production of purely internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles by 2019, and will launch five fully electric vehicles (EV) by 2021.
“This is about the customer,” said the president and chief executive Håkan Samuelsson. “People increasingly demand electrified cars and we want to respond to our customers’ current and future needs. You can now pick and choose whichever electrified Volvo you wish.”
“This announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car,” he added. “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 transition from ICE to EV will be a gradual rather than abrupt one. Volvo will first phase in hybrid offerings (2019), then transition to fully EV (2021-2025).
Although other automakers produce hybrids similar to the ones Volvo will release in 2019, Volvo is the first major brand to announce a total switch from ICE to EV.
Tesla, which has always been an EV company, will certainly have taken notice of Volvo’s announcement. As more companies make the inevitable switch to EV, Tesla will find itself facing increasing competition.
In May, Tesla announced that it would sell 500,000 vehicles by the end of 2018, which is half of what Volvo plans to do by 2025.
But things haven’t all been smooth sailing for Tesla. This month, the company said that a shortfall in batteries had led to car production that was just 40 percent of demand.
“Chinese ownership of Swedish-based Volvo likely played a role in the automaker’s announcement today,” Autotrader analyst Michelle Krebs told The New York Times. “China’s air pollution problems have prompted a more serious push toward cleaner automobiles.”
More competition in the EV market can only be a good thing. Let’s face it, the classic engine had a phenomenal run, but it’s really starting to show its age. Running around in machines powered by the explosion of fossils? That’s so 20th century.
What happens next is that EVs will become autonomous (A-EV). At that point, you won’t need to drive anymore, or even own a car. In a cross between Uber and Netflix, you’ll just subscribe to a car service and get chauffeured around the place by the robots. Won’t life be grand?