Volvo to Phase Out Combustion Engines, Embrace Electric Vehicles

Volvo announced this morning that it will begin to phase out combustion engines: beginning in 2019, every Volvo car that the company produces will have an electric motor. This move will make Volvo the first traditional automobile manufacturer in the world to leave behind the combustion engine entirely. This step towards electrification is expected to help Volvo compete with automakers like Tesla, who revealed earlier this week that production of the hotly-anticipated Tesla Model 3 is slated to begin on Friday.


The company says that it will launch five fully electric cars between 2019 and 2021. Three of these models will be Volvo models and two will be high-performance electric cars from the company’s performance car arm, Polestar. The company’s current gasoline- and diesel-only offerings will be replaced with fully-electric, plug-in hybrid, and 48-volt mild hybrid versions. In a statement, CEO Hakan Samuelsson said, “This announcement marks the end of solely combustion engine-powered car. People increasingly demand electrified cars and we want to respond to our customers’ current and future needs.”


The new electric models will be produced at Volvo’s plants in Canada and Europe, and at a new plant in the US. Said Samuelsson, “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 new factory will be a major step towards helping the company produce its new models and easily achieve this goal. Last year, the automobile manufacturer sold 534,332 cars in 100 countries, an increase of more than 6% from 2015.


Coming only days after Tesla’s announcement regarding its first mass-market electric vehicle, Volvo’s choice to move towards electricity-powered vehicles is a sign of the direction that the global automobile market as a whole may take in the near future. Consumers are increasingly searching for more fuel-efficient, environmentally-friendly, and affordable vehicles, and it’s in automobile manufacturers’ best interests to accommodate these changing preferences. This announcement also emphasizes Volvo’s intent to reduce the carbon emissions of its products and its operations, and its commitment to achieving climate neutral manufacturing operations by 2025.


During a press conference earlier today, Henrik Green, Senior Vice President of Research and Development at Volvo, said that it will take the company until sometime between 2023 and 2025 to fully phase out all models that use combustion engines.


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