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Volvo Shifts Gears, Says 'Sayonara' to Internal Combustion Engines

Image Credit: Volvo

2019 is slated to be a big year for Swedish automaker Volvo, which has announced that in two years’ time, it will no longer produce vehicles that only have internal combustion engines.  

Between 2019 and 2021, Volvo 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, the company’s performance car arm.

The cars will be supplemented by a range of petrol and diesel plug-in hybrid and mild hybrid 48 bolt options on all existing models, representing one of the broadest electrified car offerings of any car maker. The bold move marks the end of an era and sets the bar high for other key industry players at a time when urban air pollution problems are increasingly being linked to diesel.

“This is about the customer,” said Håkan Samuelsson, President and Chief Executive of Volvo. “People increasingly demand electrified cars and we want to respond to our customers’ current and future needs.”

The announcement provides a clear plan of action for Volvo’s commitments to minimizing its environmental impact and achieving its goal of having climate-neutral manufacturing operations by 2025. It also follows an earlier announcement that Polestar will become a new separately branded electrified global high-performance car company. What’s more, the decision will help Volvo meet legally binding carbon targets for new cars sold in the EU from 2020.

“This announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car. Volvo Cars has stated that it plans to have sold a total of one million electrified cars by 2025. When we said it, we meant it. This is how we are going to do it,” added Samuelsson.

Volvo’s first electric cars will be manufactured in China, with European production to follow — and they won’t be cheap. The brand’s plug-in hybrid XC90 SUV crossover already boasts a £61,650 price tag.

While Tesla which began rolling out its ‘mass market’ Model 3 electric vehicle late last week — has firmly established itself as the face of the EV market, Volvo could give the company a run for its money by placing electrification at the core of its future business. “It’s a tough competitor. But with this decision we are really becoming the second premium car maker in the world which will also be all-electrified,” Samuelsson told The Guardian.

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