Opinion: is it too soon to make every car electrified?

Volvo XC90

The Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine uses a plug-in hybrid

Volvo will only offer electrified models in future, with its boss saying the firm wants to respond to customer demands. We consider whether it’s a good move

Volvo announced this morning that, from 2019, every model it launches will be electrified, marking the end of the internal combustion engine as we know it.

What a bold move! No other manufacturer I’ve spoken to recently has been willing to rule out traditional petrol and diesel engines in their line-ups for the next decade, which always gives me the distinct impression most of the industry is hedging its bets.

In today’s announcement, Volvo boss Håkan Samuelsson stated: “This is about the customer. People increasingly demand electrified cars and we want to respond to our customers’ current and future needs.”

Which got me thinking. Is he right? Broadly speaking, yes. Electrified sales are rising and therefore demand is increasing. But are you writing off an entire section of the car-buying public by failing to offer traditional engines?

Mine is not a scientific investigation, it’s merely an anecdotal story across generations. My brother, who always wants the latest technology, desires an all-electric car but there’s not a suitably priced one which ticks all the other boxes (boot space for the accoutrements of two young children etc.). Instead, he’s opting for a plug-in hybrid and we’ve discussed that in three years’ time, when the lease deal ends, there’ll likely be a suitable all-electric model for him.

My retired dad is also thinking about a new car. He certainly wouldn’t go all-electric but he is interested in hybrids. None of the cars he likes offer hybrids for now. His purpose is to save money, but then, whose isn’t? Just because you’re not an eco warrior, doesn’t mean you’re not going to buy electrified cars.

And so, I reckon Samuelsson is on to something here. These are cars that are launching from 2019, giving consumers another two years to get their heads around electrified cars. And because of launch cycles, Volvo’s model range will probably take until the mid 2020s to fully update with only electrified versions.

Let’s not forget Volvo’s recently announced Polestar electrified performance brand, which will help fly the flag for cool, electrified cars too.

Volvo also has the advantage of not being a German car making giant (or similar). By being smaller in volume, it can afford to lead the way, often attracting avant-garde customers who want something a little different. And what is more different than investing in a company which is all-electric (so to speak)?

It’ll be fascinating to see how it pans out, but I’m confident that Volvo sales won’t suffer when the time comes. Bravo, Volvo.

Read more about Volvo’s electrified plans

Source: Autocar Online

One comment

  • Way too early to dump the engine, there is no infrastructure for electric cars in the U.K.
    I drive a diesel and do around 800 miles on a tank, so when the electric milk float gets to that sort of mileage I may have one.
    If we sorted out folks driving TOO slow forcing us into lower gears, stopped putting in road junctions that make traffic flow worse and took out the pointless speed humps we wouldn’t need electric.
    And one last point where is all this electric power going to come from?

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