Volvo ditching gasoline engines for electric, hybrid cars after 2019
Nathan Bomey , USA TODAY | Updated 8:21 a.m. ET July 5, 2017
Volvo is leaving conventional gasoline vehicles on the side of the road.
The Sweden-based brand, owned by Chinese automaker Geely, said Wednesday that any new or redesigned vehicles it launches after 2019 will be electric or hybrid vehicles.
The company will no longer design any new models with conventional internal combustion engines after that date.
Electric cars are fully powered by a battery and electric motor, while hybrids get a fuel-economy boost from a battery but still run on gasoline.
“This is about the customer,” Volvo global CEO Hakan Samuelsson said in a statement. “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.”
Although the announcement marks what Volvo called the "historic end" of gasoline vehicles, it will take years after 2019 for them to completely disappear off dealership lots. That's because automakers typically sell new models for several years, with small improvements in the interim years, before completely redesigning them.
In other words, it could take until around 2025 for all new Volvo vehicles sold at the dealership to be electrics or hybrids.
Still, the move makes Volvo the first major automaker to chart such a path. Silicon Valley automaker Tesla, which is still a niche automaker by volume, already sells only electric vehicles.
Volvo said its transition would start with three new main stream, fully electric cars from 2019 through 2021.
The automaker said its goal is to sell 1 million electric or hybrid cars by 2025 and to lower its carbon footprint.
"We expect that the decision is also largely driven by CO2 regulations," Evercore ISI analyst Arndt Ellinghorst said in a note to investor, referring to carbon emissions standards.
Like other automakers, Volvo is under pressure to meet fuel economy targets, particularly in Europe, where diesel vehicles are falling out of favor.
Probably a good plan since nobody buys their cars anyway.
Quite the contrary around my neck of the woods. The Volvo SUV models have become somewhat of a status symbol. A friend survived a serious head-on wreck at highway speeds last year and credits her Volvo for her survival.
My prediction for 2021. "Volvo returns to manufacturing automobiles with conventional internal combustion engines after sales plummet."
VOLVO GIVES TESLA A SHOCK, AS OTHERS PLAN ELECTRIC PUSH
By Neanda Salvaterra July 6, 2017 7:26 am ET
Volvo has shaken up the energy and auto industries with its plan for its new vehicles to be hybrids or electric by 2019, giving rival Tesla Inc. a big new competitor and raising new questions about future oil demand, write John D. Stoll and Tim Higgins.
“The Scandinavian company isn’t the only deep-pocketed rival planning to compete with the Silicon Valley pioneer. Nearly all global vehicle makers are mounting their own electric-car push, powered by ever-cheaper prices for batteries, stricter emissions rules and lucrative government incentives for customers,” the Journal reports.
Owned by China’s Geely Holding Group, Volvo on Wednesday presented plans to transition its entire lineup to vehicles powered either by batteries or hybrid electric-internal combustion engines by 2019.
The move follows announcements by other companies such as Toyota Motor Corp., Volkswagen AG and Daimler AG that have also outlined plans to venture into the electric car market – a sign that the auto industry believes the internal-combustion engine’s days are numbered.
Big oil companies like Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell PLC have increasingly bet on finding and developing natural gas, a lower-carbon fuel that is used to make electricity and that is likely to be in higher demand if electric vehicles take off.
Shell has said global oil demand will peak some time in the next five to 15 years, a trend driven in part by the predicted rise of electric vehicles.
Tesla can't sell volume yet and there is 18 month wait list. Maybe Volvo loyalists will find a way to make it work. Tesla's got to be worried.
Well, you'll need to charge them somewhere using electricity generated by clean natural gas! But what to do with those pesky dead batteries.
They don't go dead. You recharge them. Or, swap them out at a battery station. And, yes, it will be good for natural gas.
France Plans to End Sales of Gas and Diesel Cars by 2040
France is joining a growing movement to force the extinction of vehicles that run on fossil fuels, saying on Thursday that it would aim to end the sale of gasoline and diesel cars by 2040.
The target is less ambitious than ones set by countries like Norway and India. Still, coming from a major car-producing country, France’s declaration gave additional momentum to efforts to fight climate change and urban smog by promoting the use of electric cars.
The timing of the announcement was also significant, a day after the automaker Volvo said it would phase out the internal combustion engine, and during a visit to Europe by President Trump. The announcement by Nicolas Hulot, the French environment minister, was an expression of European leaders’ determination to pursue an environmental agenda despite Mr. Trump’s repudiation of the Paris agreement on climate change.
“It’s a very difficult objective,” Mr. Hulot said Thursday. “But the solutions are there.”
The plan to phase out gasoline and diesel cars is part of a broader effort by France to limit global warming, which Mr. Hulot outlined Thursday. The country will also stop issuing new oil and gas exploration permits this year, and stop using coal to produce electricity by 2022, he said.
Mr. Hulot’s statement was the latest sign that the century-long reign of the internal combustion engine may be slowly coming to an end.
On Wednesday, Volvo said that all of its new models beginning in 2019 would be either battery-powered cars or hybrids that combined electric motors with diesel or gasoline engines.
The company, based in Sweden, said it will not introduce any new designs powered solely by conventional internal combustion engines — a first for a major carmaker. Mr. Hulot referred to Volvo’s announcement during his remarks in Paris on Thursday.
There was no immediate reaction to the government’s statement from France’s two major carmakers, Renault and the PSA Group, which makes Peugeot and Citroën cars.
Renault began selling battery-powered cars in 2011, and was among the first major carmakers to do so.