Volvo is not becoming an all-electric carmaker like Tesla, but the luxury brand announced today that every vehicle rolled out from 2019 on will at least have help from an electric motor.
While Volvo's news release was titled, "Volvo Cars to go all electric," its electrified lineup will include mild hybrids and plug-in hybrids as well as fully electric vehicles. There will be no solo internal combustion Used Engine powering new Volvo designs. It's not exactly the end of the ICE age, but nonetheless, it's a milestone.
"This announcement marks the end of the solely combustion- Used Engine -powered car," Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson said. "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."
It will take several years after 2019 for the electrification plan to be complete. Volvo's lineup has been rapidly renewed in the past couple of years, and the life cycle of these vehicles typically is seven years. But its flagship XC90 SUV, for example, already offers a T8 plug-in hybrid version in the U.S., and the company has T8 plug-in versions of the redesigned S90 sedan, V90 wagon and XC60 compact SUV. At a press conference today, the company said the changeover starting in 2019 could take about five years. See more in the video below.
Volvo also said it will launch five new models from 2019 through 2021 that will be fully electric battery vehicles. Three will be Volvos and two will be performance cars under its newly standalone Polestar hot-car brand. The mild and plug-in hybrids will continue to offer both gas and diesel Used Engine in various markets and will use 48-volt hybrid systems, Volvo said.
Samuelsson said the move is a response to customer demand.
"People increasingly demand electrified cars and we want to respond to our customers' current and future needs," he stated. "You can now pick and choose whichever electrified Volvo you wish."
It also will help the maker respond to tightening government fuel-economy rules in the U.S. and elsewhere, as well as government mandates for electrified vehicles in some markets, notably China. That's a second home market for Sweden's Volvo, which has been owned by Chinese automaker Geely since it bought the brand from Ford in 2010.
While sales of electric and hybrid cars in the U.S. have softened overall in an era of stable gas prices, demand is greater for electrified luxury, with Tesla being a prime example. But other premium automakers are wiring up as well, with more plug-in hybrid versions (such as the 2018 Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid), mild hybrids (the 2018 Buick LaCrosse) and electrics (reportedly including a battery 3 Series sedan from BMW).