Swedish car manufacturing colossus Volvo has announced that all new models launched from 2019 will be fully electric or hybrid vehicles - which signals the end of nearly a century of Volvo cars being powered solely by the internal combustion engine.
Volvo Car Group, which is now owned by Chinese multinational automotive manufacturing company Geely Holding Group, made the announcement which ended months of speculation. However, Volvo did insist that it will continue to produce pure combustion-engine Volvos from models launched before 2019. The firm which is headquartered in Gothenburg said in a statement issued to the press that it would introduce cars across its model line-up that ranged from fully electric cars to plug-in hybrids.
Volvo’s strategic plan represents the first of the traditional automakers to set a specific timeframe for the complete phase-out of combustion-engine-only models through electrification. The electrification has long been a term coined in the automotive industry and Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors has been a battery carmaker since its inception.
Volvo announced its intentions to develop five new models which will be launched in 2019 through 2021 - three of them Volvos and two Polestar-branded - will all be fully electric.
Volvo Cars Chief Executive, Hakan Samuelsson outlined the organization’s future plans, which means no new Volvo models launched will be developed without an electric motor.
Samuelsson said: "This announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car. 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. This means that in the future there will be no Volvo cars without an electric motor."
Volvo has invested significantly in new models and manufacturing plants since it was acquired by Zhejiang-based Geely Holding Group from Ford in 2010. Since the takeover, Volvo has established a niche in a premium auto market dominated by larger rivals such as Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz and BMW. Analysts have suggested that Volvo’s strategy has centered on embracing technologies which enables higher performance electric vehicles and self-driving cars when they’re eventually deployed and developed.
Volvo announced last month that it plans to reshape its Polestar business into a standalone brand, focused on the high-performance of electric cars which signals its desire to compete with Tesla and Mercedes AMG division.
Volvo has also taken steps towards an eventual listing, raising 5 billion crowns from Swedish institutional investors through the sale of newly issued preference shares last year, though the company has said no decision on an IPO has been made.