Volvo has become the first traditional carmaker to signal the end of the internal combustion engine. The Gothenburg-based manufacturer, which is owned by Chinese firm Geely, plans to build only electric and hybrid vehicles starting in 2019.
Between 2019 and 2021, it will launch five fully electric cars three of which will be Volvo models and two of which will be high performance electrified cars from Polestar, Volvo Cars’ performance car arm. These five cars will be supplemented by a range of petrol and diesel plug in hybrid and mild hybrid 48 volt options on all models, representing one of the broadest electrified car offerings of any car maker.
Volvo's president and Chief executive Hakan Samuelsson said the move was dictated by customer demand. "People increasingly demand electrified cars, and we want to respond to our customers' current and future needs," he said.
The announcement comes as major European carmakers have been racing to develop electric and hybrid models. German car giant Volkswagen is planning to release 30 new electric vehicles by 2025 and and luxury brands, such as Audi and Mercedes-Benz, are also jostling for a share of the electric vehicle market.
From 2021, tougher EU emissions rules will come into force and car makers in the EU will have to ensure that across their fleets, average CO2 output is no higher than 95g of CO2 per kilometre.
In addition, France plans to ban sales of diesel and petrol vehicles in the country by 2040. The target was announced last week by environment minister Nicolas Hulot at a news conference unveiling a five-year government plan to encourage clean energy, AP reported.
The maker of Peugeot and Citroen cars, PSA Group, said the environment minister’s pledge fits with its goal of offering hybrid or electric versions of 80 per cent of its cars by 2023.
Yet, the transition to 100 per cent electric vehicles will take years as experts question how quickly consumers will adapt to the switch.