Volvo Going Electric

Swedish automaker announces all-electric line for 2019

Volvo announced Wednesday it plans to reinvent its product portfolio by centering its vehicles around the electric motor.

The Swedish automaker famous for safe cars also offered insight on the future of the auto industry—and made press releases more interesting to read in the process. The opinion-infused release predicted the downfall of combustion and diesel engines by mid-century, while also detailing that the new Volvo approach will utilize a number of EV variations including fully electric cars, plug-in hybrid cars and mild hybrids. “Every Volvo from 2019 will have an electric motor, marking the historic end of cars that only have an internal combustion engine and placing electrification at the core of its future business,” the press release opens.

It will launch five fully electric cars between 2019 and 2021. These five cars will be joined by petrol and diesel plug in hybrid and mild hybrid 48 volt options on all models.

“This announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car,” said Mr 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 announcement also underlines environmental goals, as Volvo aims to have climate neutral manufacturing operations by 2025.

While all of this is agreed upon as one of the more significant moves by any car maker to embrace electrification, Volvo’s predictions are—almost universally—being considered overly ambitious.

The end of the combustion engine “is being overstated,” Michelle Krebs, senior analyst at Autotrader, told the LA Times. “People always say they’re interested in these cars,” she said of electrics. “They’ll consider them, but they don’t buy them.”

As for the predictions of the combustion engine’s demise, well, the numbers don’t support it. Less than 3 percent of all automobiles bought in the U.S. are currently electric. Sales in SUVs and trucks actually spiked in the past two years due to cheaper gas prices. While the movement to clean energy is more prevalent abroad, the U.S. is currently experiencing a quasi-backtrack.

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