Every Single New Volvo Will Be Electrified After 2019

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Volvo has been pushing “non-traditional” powertrains for a while. The company, encouraged heavily by its Chinese owner, has already begun moving toward limiting engine options in the very near future while focusing heavily on electrification. In 2014, the brand said all of its cars would be offered with a plug-in hybrid variant to supplement purely gas-powered models. Now it’s taking things further, setting a definitive timeline for the shift and stating that every new model after 2019 will be a hybrid or purely battery-driven vehicle.

“This announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car,” Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson explained in an official statement on Wednesday. “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 is how we are going to do it.”

“This is about the customer,” he continued. “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.”

While limiting vehicles to electric-only powertrains is technically the opposite of choice, it shouldn’t result in the company’s lineup transforming into a bunch of low-range green machines. Volvo plans to provide full-electric, plug-in hybrid, and 48-volt mild hybrid variants. Shoppers who don’t want a BEV can opt for a plug-in gas-burner, and the mild hybrid option should appease those seeking a more traditional internal combustion vehicle.

The complete elimination of the ICE also won’t take place overnight. Increasingly strict emission regulations, especially in Europe, places the middle of next decade as a moment where Volvo might do something drastic. But it’s still an ambitious endeavor. The company doesn’t have any fully electric vehicles now and plans to bring in five before 2022 — most of which are likely to emerge from Polestar as Volvo’s performance arm metamorphosizes into a standalone automaker.

While a bevy of automakers claim to be making the shift to electrification, few have been this clear in their messaging. Volvo Cars is not only making a promise, it’s also setting a public goal for itself to adhere to. On the surface, it doesn’t sound like a terrible plan. Of course, we’ll have to see what it actually yields. Volvo already offers most of its current models with a plug-in hybrid variant in certain markets, though it doesn’t yet have a pure battery or 48-volt model. The brand isn’t ready to make any announcement on any upcoming EVs, but they’ll all use its scalable modular architecture.

[Image: Volvo Cars]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • APaGttH APaGttH on Jul 05, 2017

    A number of people replying here never bothered to read past the headline: * Electrification means hybrid or full-electric, not a switch over to full-electric * The change is based on new platforms introduced starting in 2019, so the reality is a full product line changeover won't happen until around 2025, based on the average lifespan of a platform (give or take a year or two) * The future isn't the United States, it's China, which has an even more aggressive electrification mandate than the United States. China is why we have so many vehicles with 1.5L or smaller turbo-4 engines, and some of the design language we see. * Volvo is owned by...that's right, the Chinese, so they are going to care a lot about the point above Breathless posts of their goes the neighborhood are pure hyperbole.

  • Kosmo Kosmo on Jul 06, 2017

    A vote of only one, but an actual owner: Dear Volvo, You lost me at the "4-Cylinder Only" decision. This sure won't get me back. Signed, XC60 R-Design Owner

  • James Hendricks The depreciation on the Turbo S is going to be epic!
  • VoGhost Key phrase: "The EV market has grown." Yup, EV sales are up yet again, contrary to what nearly every article on the topic has been claiming. It's almost as if the press gets 30% of ad revenues from oil companies and legacy ICE OEMs.
  • Leonard Ostrander Daniel J, you are making the assertion. It's up to you to produce the evidence.
  • VoGhost I remember all those years when the brilliant TTAC commenters told me over and over how easy it was for legacy automakers to switch to making EVs, and that Tesla was due to be crushed by them in just a few months.
  • D "smaller vehicles" - sorry, that's way too much common sense! Americans won't go along because clever marketing convinced us our egos need big@ss trucks, which give auto manufacturers the profit margin they want, and everybody feels vulnerable now unless they too have a huge vehicle. Lower speed limits could help, but no politician wants to push that losing policy. We'll just go on building more lanes and driving faster and faster behind our vehicle's tinted privacy glass. Visions of Slim Pickens riding a big black jacked up truck out of a B-52.
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