By on July 5, 2017

2018 Volvo XC60, Image: Volvo Cars

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]

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42 Comments on “Every Single New Volvo Will Be Electrified After 2019...”

  • avatar

    Begins the Volvo death watch.

    • 0 avatar

      Yep. That’s the size of it. Way to kill a comeback. Saw the new wagon in Europe last week and it’s a beauty.

    • 0 avatar

      Nah not need for death watch as its just notgonnahappen. My guess is the new platform can be used as a hybrid so depending on the current state of their technology hybrids may become available next year alongside a full EV. But no gas or diesel option by MY19? Not in this life.

    • 0 avatar

      “Begins the Volvo death watch.”

      Yeah, because death watches have been so accurate in the past.

    • 0 avatar

      Oh, please…

      If any automaker can pull this off, it’s Volvo. First, they are not a full-line manufacturer, with an upscale and, shall we say, “quirky” customer base.

      Second, a recent exprience with a rented Fusion hybrid was a real eye-opener. It convinced me that any sacrifices required to go hybrid are ourweighed by the radical improvement in fuel economy. Plus, the electric motors initial torque was very satisfying in the real world.

      Some form of electric power in almost all drivetrains is inevitable. The advantages are too big to ignore. Volvo is the first automaker whose lineup is narrow enought to announce a commitment at this time.

      Given the requirements of the Chinese market and its size, they will be dictating the megatrends in the auto industry for some time to come.

      Which brings me to my final point: the size of that market makes it possible for Volvo to access whatever capital it needs. The recent product revamps (as well as the development of their new motor) prove this. Geely, through Volvo, may have the formula to become one of the worlds dominant automakers. Calling for a “deathwatch”, in my opinion, displays a fundamental lack of understanding of world markets and requirements.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    A return to their original North American market? Iconoclastic, educated urbanites who wanted something non-mainstream.

  • avatar

    There will be a good percentage of would-be Volvo buyers who won’t even consider a Volvo made in China. And there will be car buyers who won’t want to pay the high price of a Volvo, especially since it’s made in China.

    On another subject, mail trucks and UPS delivery vans should be hybrids. They spend a lot of time idling or being shut off and restarted hundreds of times a day. The mechanical wear and tear as well as emissions reductions would make this application of the technology more significant than hybrid passenger cars that spend the vast majority of the day parked.
    Hybrid semi trucks would benefit as well – additional acceleration when needed, no need to idle in stop-and-go traffic, regenerating brakes save wear on expensive drums and shoes, better uphill acceleration, recharging when going downhill, no need to leave that diesel idling while eating lunch, approaching a loading dock or loading and unloading. The fuel savings would be significant. Heck, a solar panel on the top of the trailer(s) would provide useful recharging while parked.

    • 0 avatar

      @RHD: Most customers don’t know and don’t care where their product is made. It made no difference for BMW to make the X series in the US or that GM is moving some production to China. Much like for smart phones, nobody seems to care where its made.

      • 0 avatar

        Would be a problem when China joins Russia in propping up North Korea. As they both have done recently. Why would anyone invest in China?

    • 0 avatar

      The cars that will be built in the USA in South Carolina will presumably have this new combined gas/electric powertrain too. For the moment (and based on the investment in the US factory), it’s untrue that all Volvos are going to be made in China. I think you’re right about some would-be buyers, though, and if Volvo are smart they’ll import primarily from Sweden and Belgium to the US in addition to the US-built cars.

  • avatar

    This is not nearly as radical as it sounds (although it makes for a great headline).

    Let’s review:

    By the end of 2018 most of Volvo’s current lineup will be relatively new. They will run out that lineup using the drive-train choices that offer now (including gas only) until probably 2025-27.

    New hybrid models may join that lineup after 2019. Look for an engine integrated mild-hybrid drive train based on the current crop of 4 cylinder engines (much like Mercedes is planning) to be introduced between 2019 and 2025.

    That is nothing radical about that product road map and I would expect most other European manufacturers to not be too far behind.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      I agree carguy, with “48V mild-hybrid” as a option, Volvo could end up selling a large percentage of cars that are only slightly more electrified that current 4 cylinder models with engine start-stop technology.

  • avatar

    Makes sense cuz of one reason:

    Volvo only has 2.0 liter four bangers now. They don’t want to spend the money building a bigger motor. So, how do you move your vehicles faster without larger engines? Electric motors – they got good torque…

    So… Hybrids are not just for the environment – they are faster in certain applications!

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    I don’t have an automotive marketing background, but a stand alone performance brand named Polestar doesn’t seem like a great idea, unless your selling a line of adult entertainer clothing.
    Seriously, this is a serious gamble for a traditionally near-luxury only brand. Nobody is going to cross shop Tesla for full electric luxury or Lexus for hybrid luxury and any Volvo, especially a Chinese Volvo.

  • avatar

    Customers are demanding it? Last figures I have seen indicate EV share globally is flat or declining unless subsidies are boosted. Goldman has just downgraded Tesla shares as global demand seems to be falling for the S and X, and they still aren’t profitable. Gas prices are projected to stay low indefinitely, while EV subsidizing governments around the world are bleeding red ink, which are both bad news for EVs. I hope Volvo has a plan B.

    • 0 avatar
      dash riprock

      Customers are not demanding it, but Governments are.

      In places like China, EV’s will not need the subsidies that we see in NA and Europe. The Government will simply demand it by only allowing EV’s or severely limiting the number of ICE vehicles to be registered. I anticipate that in European countries these limits may happen, or, they can just limit access to city centers to EV’s. Either way, Governments seem convinced that limiting ICE vehicles is the way of the future

      • 0 avatar

        “Governments seem convinced that limiting ICE vehicles is the way of the future?”

        Gov’ts limiting freedoms and pushing one product over another? There’s a word for this somewhere.

        • 0 avatar

          28, Central planners know best. What could possibly go wrong?

        • 0 avatar

          Yes, it’s the favorable taxation of oil production and distribution, for one.

          • 0 avatar

            The previous alternative industry to oil production was animal powered. If you want to argue oil production was given favorable taxation/distro to the competition, animal power, you have at it.

            There was no completion to petroleum to favor, now there sort of is and the [insert political description] are now *choosing* one over the other.

        • 0 avatar

          “Battery powered vehicles providing limited range and long recharge cycles sound like a nice way to effectively control people movement.

          Ah ha, a clue!

          “I enjoy driving a manual-shift gas-powered car but recognize that [global population amounts] need to be reduced.”


          And the idea that our governments are completely separate from the citizens, like some sort of corporations that come out of nowhere and have astonishing power.

          Now, which of these is more absurd?

      • 0 avatar

        If governments all over the world “seem convinced” that planning for a world of zero-emission vehicles is worth the expense and effort, why exactly do you think they’re misguided? Consider, for example, the infrastructure planning (i.e., public and other kinds of fast-charge points) without which widespread adoption of electrics will be slowed. If governments are to plan such infrastructure, it follows that they need to encourage the EV market to grow in number and variety of offerings.

        Not many years from now, our children driving battery-electric cars won’t have any nostalgia at all for ICE engines; I enjoy driving a manual-shift gas-powered car but recognize that emissions need to be reduced.

        • 0 avatar

          Battery powered vehicles providing limited range and long recharge cycles sound like a nice way to effectively control people movement.

          Ah ha, a clue!

          “I enjoy driving a manual-shift gas-powered car but recognize that [global population amounts] need to be reduced.”


          • 0 avatar

            I guess you don’t know much about developments in fast-charge technology. Although there are three mutually incompatible common types at present (including Tesla’s), fast charging will become faster and easier soon, and energy density of batteries will also keep improving. What’s your interest in forestalling that?

            Global population has nothing to do with it, unless you’re including all the other animal and plant life on the planet.

          • 0 avatar

            Educate me, what is the current cycle time to full recharge?

            More people = more energy consumption = more emissions.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            If you truly wish to defuse (puns intended) radical, Islamic terror/expansion, then participate in the conversion away from petroleum powered vehicles.

            Without petroleum income, the funding for those teaching and supporting radicals will quickly evaporate.

            As in all things and in particular crime, ‘follow the money’. If you cut off the supply you starve the criminals.

          • 0 avatar

            I am not sure that a company indicating that its global roadmap will feature more hybrid and electric vehicles amounts to a government conspiracy to limit movement. That just sounds to me like the next step in the car’s technological evolution. Much like fuel injection, overhead cam shafts, set belts and safety glass.

            The only way our government is limiting movement is by not investing enough in roads and keeping us stuck in traffic.

          • 0 avatar

            @28-cars – There are a lot of variables that factor into recharge time; see, for example, the charts in this article:


            As for your equation, there wouldn’t be more emissions if the sources of electricity were themselves emission-free, such as solar and wind power.

          • 0 avatar

            The only way to take fossil fuels out of the equation is solar/wind/nuclear. Guess which one of those nobody wants to build and which one doesn’t rely on the sun shining and the wind blowing?

          • 0 avatar

            Respectfully, I cannot agree. You may decrease some amount by reducing oil revenue but to truly toss it into the dustbin of history you have to also prevent the alphabet agencies of the West and East from sponsoring it as well. Terror is a tool exploited by all parties.

        • 0 avatar

          Governments are criminal enterprises, just more bloodthirsty and violent than your typical organized crime family or urban gang. I for one don’t give a rat’s behind what they want.

        • 0 avatar


          Thanks for the link, per its contents the range for a 250 mile journey is anywhere between 80 and 19 minutes depending on kWs.

          “themselves emission-free, such as solar and wind power”

          This solar array is capable of 5,000,000 watts annually:

          The average US home consumed 10,812 kWhs in 2015, which is 10,812,000 watts.

          “in 2015, the average annual electricity consumption for a U.S. residential utility customer was 10,812 kilowatthours (kWh), an average of 901 kWh per month. Louisiana had the highest annual electricity consumption at 15,435 kWh per residential customer, and Hawaii had the lowest at 6,166 kWh per residential customer.”

          Solar doesn’t scale well at all.

          The largest wind farm in the world has an “operational capacity” of 1,020 MW annually. This is an approximate 1020000 kW, so 1020000 / 10,812 = 94.339 homes’ annual consumption in the capacity period which is not defined. While this is much better than the solar farm, this still is not replacing enough to have a large enough impact. Both types of power also require certain geographic or natural conditions to operate properly which limits their deployment.

          In the Wikipedia article, it explains the Danish offshore wind farm Horns Rev 2 has an annual capacity of average 875 GWh/year since it’s inception in 2009. Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station produced 31200 GWh in 2010 alone. I am not pushing nuclear, but it shows the huge disparity between what was once the largest wind farm in the world and the largest nuclear station of three reactors in one year of production.

          “The largest nuclear plant in the US, Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station has between its three reactors a nameplate capacity of 3,942 MW. In 2010 its annual generation was 31,200,000 MWh,[2] leading to a capacity factor of:”

          “The Danish offshore wind farm Horns Rev 2, the world’s largest at its inauguration in 2009,[4] has a nameplate capacity of 209.3 MW. As of January 2017 it has produced 6416 GWh since its commissioning 7.3 years ago, i.e. an average annual production of 875 GWh/year and a capacity factor of:”

          “The net capacity factor is the unitless ratio of an actual electrical energy output over a given period of time to the maximum possible electrical energy output over the same amount of time.[1]”

          “Alta Wind Energy Centre (AWEC) in Tehachapi, Kern County, California, is currently the largest wind farm in the world with an operational capacity of 1,020MW. The onshore wind farm is owned and operated by Terra-Gen Power. Construction is underway to expand the wind farm’s capacity to 1,550MW.”

          • 0 avatar

            There is also ongoing research into various means of battery storage of solar and wind energy – the usefulness of which was clear decades ago. Do you think the U.S. Department of Energy should stop funding and conducting such research? If that happens, other countries will develop and control the technology.

          • 0 avatar

            @28: ChargePoint is introducing a 400kW capable station. I get about 4.5 miles per kWh in my car. So if my math is correct, under good conditions and while the battery is under 80%, theoretically with a 400kW capable car and a 70 kWh battery, I could pump in 250 miles in 8.3 minutes.

            I think ChargePoints press release says 100 miles in less than 15 minutes, but it can effectively be more miles per minute in more efficient cars like the one I currently have. I think a 4.5 mile/kWh car works out to 30 miles per minute and 2.5 kWh/mile would get 16.6 miles per minute up to about 80% battery capacity. My current car stays pretty close to max up until 92% under ideal conditions. In bad conditions, like sub-zero temps, the charge rate slows down quite a bit.

            I think most cars on the way are going to be 350kW. I have yet to hear of a 400kW car, but when they do have one, there will be charging stations capable of handling it.

          • 0 avatar


            I think you are mixing up a couple of things. Solar power arrays are rated by their maximun output at a given moment. Total output per year is not rated probably because the output is variable and so resists prediction.

            Your numbers for homes are the total consumption per year. This is like confusing mileage with annual fuel consumption.

            So while your comparison suggests the 5 megawatt solar farm will power half an average house, it can actually power 500 houses. Had you just looked a bit more closely at the website.

            Sustainable power is vastly more capable than your flawed view of it, and the technology is rapidly improving.

            Edit: this site really needs an obvious way to ensure posts end up in the right place.

  • avatar

    I tend to think much of this is just virtue signaling for the sort of people that shop Volvo. Of course, just like most people that virtue signal, they aren’t going to actually follow through with their high standards.

    It honestly repels me in the opposite direction as it reeks of some sort of gimmick car company that’s won’t be with us much longer.

  • avatar

    Volvos have always been safe and well-designed, if pricey. When I was a kid here in Toronto it seemed that every other hockey mom had a 242 station wagon. But who is going to buy one now at any price? The manufacturer is abandoning the technology and going another way. Where would the support be? They already have next to nil dealers. I think they have just killed themselves for the next 4 years.

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar

    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.


    XC60 R-Design Owner

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