The particularly high concentration of vehicles with internal combustion engines in urban agglomerations is leading to problems which aren’t secrets anymore. To remind you of these: Harmful air pollution and disturbing noise pollution but also the inefficient use of space aren’t benefits for any city. However, there are movements which are leading away from this burdensome conditions. Yesterday, a not insignificant market player reported a confident step towards clean mobility. The traditional vehicle manufacturer Volvo, headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden, officially announced that every vehicle leaving the production plant from 2019 will have some kind of electrification. Conventionally driven cars will be a part of Volvo’s history after 2018. Only fully electric cars, plug in hybrid cars or mild hybrid cars are offered then.
Allegedly, the rising customer interest is the reason for Volvo’s change. But it’s likely that other reasons might have played a role in the background. “This is about the customer,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive. “People increasingly demand electrified cars and we want to respond to our customers’ current and future needs. You can now pick and choose whichever electrified Volvo you wish.”
Indeed, we became accustomed to electric cars through Tesla in recent years. They are offering full-electric cars only. However, Volvo’s step is still very meaningful as it is a large and traditional vehicle manufacturer established in 1927 with a revenue in the low double-digit billion-euro range. Some other large carmakers are still hesitating to take the first step and set change in train – they neglect electric cars pretty much. It seems some of them recognized the indications of time because they offer one or more electric models. But when one looks more closely, the legitimate doubt arises that they just might work as an alibi. Their percentage of total turnover is vanishingly small. In the worst case, it is even a loss-making operation which needs to be cross-financed. The big money is still earned with combustion engines. More courageous then is Volvo.
Despite the Tesla story, many of the big carmakers seem to be not sure of the direction of the journey. Heading for electric cars or better waiting and continuing with internal combustion engines? Or is there maybe another promising technology? The stakes are high and time might be short. Will they end like typewriter manufacturers one day? Or will they be the lucky winners like manufacturers of analog watches after the waning demand of digital ones?
China Plays a Central Role for Volvo’s Electromobility Objective?
An interesting subsidiary aspect in this context is China in two ways: First of all, the Chinese multinational automotive manufacturing company Geely owns Volvo Cars since 2010. Secondly, China is the country with the world’s largest car market and requires from automakers to sell at least 8% electric cars in China by 2018 and 12% by 2020. This fact came initially as something like a shock for some manufacturers. German carmakers, for example, are really trembling with China’s quote according to several German news portals, such as Manager Magazin.
Pioneering or Waiting?
However, the successful realization of ambitious and at the same time realistic goals, which reduce the strain on the climate and on natural resources, are a chance to clearly indicate the direction of the journey. Sometimes it can make sense to be the confident pioneer in order to remove uncertainties and just point the way instead of remaining in a waiting position.
Five New Fully Electric Cars By the Year 2021
Anyway, Volvo’s direction is clear. Within three years, between 2019 and 2021, Volvo plans to launch five new electrified cars. Two of them will be e-cars with a higher performance provided by Polestar, a subsidiary of Volvo Cars. “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.”