By on December 2, 2020

Volvo Cars’ chief executive, Håkan Samuelsson, believes a ban on gasoline-driven vehicles would be a more effective way to force groups to go electric than continuing to offer subsidies on battery-powered automobiles. The announcement comes as part of the Financial Times’ “Future of the Car Summit,” where Samuelsson will proclaim the internal combustion engine “a technology of the past.”

In related news, Volvo Cars is also in negotiations to merge with China’s Geely Automotive and has renewed its commitment toward becoming an electric-only brand by 2030. The latter issue will also be brought up during Wednesday’s Car Summit, with the CEO praising the United Kingdom’s promise to eliminate the sale of new gasoline and diesel cars that same year.

What miraculously convenient timing.

There’s actually a lot happening in 2030. Dozens of governments around the world have vowed to make sure EVs achieve dominance via regulatory action that year and automakers have tailored their eco-friendly timelines to match. It’s also the first year that China will be obligated to adhere to the Paris Climate Agreement and the period where it’s supposed to become abundantly clear that the nation overtakes the United States as the dominant global superpower. EVs are actually supposed to play a significant role as China becomes both the world’s largest purchaser and producer of the necessary components.

Volvo believes it will be attributing 50 percent of its sales to EVs by 2025, with the rest being hybridized to some degree. But it’s vying to be totally electric by 2030, even if we’re inclined to believe that target is quite ambitious. But Samuelsson believes the luxury segment will absolutely outpace the automobiles of commoners in terms of electrification, making the 2030 goal possible for higher-end brands.

“We are convinced that the premium car segment will become fully electric over time, and our ambition is to be a leader in that segment,” reads his speech.

From FT:

The digital summit comes as carmakers face a faster-than-expected push towards electric vehicles, with other countries expected to bring in phase-out dates for the sale of new traditionally powered vehicles.

Reception of the UK’s phase-out of new petrol and diesel sales has been muted across the industry, with many carmakers warning that the targets are too ambitious without a widespread public adoption of the technology.

Allowing the sale of some hybrid cars until 2035 will ease the burden for some carmakers such as Toyota, which are heavily reliant on hybrid models to lower their emissions.

Regulation is already driving down emissions, with most carmakers in the EU bringing out battery models to meet tighter CO2 rules that came into force this year and 2021. A lower goal by 2030 is expected to lead to a large increase in electric vehicle sales across Europe.

But Volvo’s CEO doesn’t think subsidies will be enough.

“No one can build a successful and profitable business by relying on incentives,” Samuelsson explains in his speech. “While temporary incentives can help encourage industry to develop in the right way, it could be more efficient for governments to set a clear agenda towards an electric future.”

It seems to have worked for Tesla … but whatever.

In the interim, Volvo plans on resuming merger talks with China’s Geely. Unfortunately, Geely’s attempts to be listed on Shanghai’s New Star Market currently limit the changes its legally allowed to make to its capital structure. Volvo said this could all change after the holidays, however. The Swedish brand is currently parented by Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, which owns the London EV Company, Lotus, Lynk & Co, Geely Auto, Geely Sweden AB, and Geely UK.

“Quarter one is more realistic next year. We have said we are looking at a combination and it could be done in different ways. Platform sharing and so on,” Samuelsson told Reuters this week, noting that the goal would be to maintain both of the brands’ unique identities in the event of a full merger.

[Image: Volvo Cars]

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53 Comments on “Volvo CEO Says Governments Should Just Ban Gasoline Powered Cars...”


  • avatar
    thegamper

    2030 sounds like pie in the sky to me. I agree that it is an achievable goal long term. The tech continues to improve but still suffers the issues of range anxiety, lack of charging infrastructure, battery degradation…to name a few.

    It also begs the question of whether the industry could scale up to meet battery demand to that degree in 10 years. Probably not in anticipation of sales. The investment would only come as the sales come and would be more gradual.

  • avatar
    lstanley

    “We are convinced that the premium car segment will become fully electric over time, and our ambition is to be a leader in that segment,”

    Then work hard, build good vehicles at an attractive price point, and people will purchase electric vehicles at the expense of gasoline powered cars.

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      Honestly, I didn’t think I could possibly dislike Volvo any more than I already do. All things given, they produce terribly unreliable, overpriced cars and SUVs that spend a LOT of time in the shop and provide milquetoast performance at best. The Chinesium content has notably increased as well. The only redeeming Volvo is the XC90, and even that takes a steep $75000 to have one that’s worth owning until it breaks.

      But now I dislike Volvo even more. Thanks TTAC.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    “We are convinced that the premium car segment will become fully electric over time, and our ambition is to be a leader in that segment”

    Too late – Mary Barra said it first:

    https://tinyurl.com/thank-you-redgolf

  • avatar
    stuki

    Those who can, do.

    Those who can’t, are instead reduced to cheering for bootstompers to ban their infinite superiors who can.

    Volvo is a failed joke. Ran into the ground by empowered-by-central-bank-theft-and-nothing-but abject losers like this guy.

    Noone competent enough to build anything of genuine value, will ever, not in a million years, believe that dragging tonnes of pointless batteries with them for a 2 mile trip to the store every day; just so they may have a shot at getting out of sight of some power cord, at snails pace, once in a while; is neither “good for the environment” nor anything else, aside from sheer and utter idiocy.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Well, the guy is a European. They still have kings over there. That means they also have a priveleged class used to making decisions, and using jackboots to enforce them.

      It’s odd coming from a Europe, a continent woefully short of energy sources, where the largest economy has the highest electricity prices, because they shut down their nuclear plants. If Musk is right, that an all-electric national vehicle fleet will need double the electicity we now generate, well, something’s got to give, to coin a phrase.

      The real goal is probably to get the serfs out of cars and rely on mass transit, while the rich get to drive, just like in 1900. The problem is, high taxes on motor vehicles and fuel are subsidizing mass transit in Europe.

      How will the serfs get around without mass transit? They won’t get around at all, staying close to home and work, where they can be closely watched and controlled, just like in 1400. Middle Ages, here we come!

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I’m glad someone else got the memo, its pretty clear and has been for some time. I can remember speculating about this in 2016 and 2017 on this erstwhile site. The never ending plandemic is also clever as it will provide excuses to limit mass transit and the proles won’t object. For the children and all.

        “That means they also have a priveleged class used to making decisions, and using jackboots to enforce them.”

        Coming soon to a capital near you.

      • 0 avatar
        TimK

        Yes ^^^
        Petroleum fuels give the 99% too much freedom, and the little SOBs can use gasoline for other purposes when they are angry about some new edict or shortage. Much better to make them dependent on a central source of energy that can be instantly switched off.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      “dragging tonnes of pointless batteries with them for a 2 mile trip to the store every day; just so they may have a shot at getting out of sight of some power cord”

      Lets compare the weight of actual/similar cars. A BMW 330xi weighs 3560 lbs. A Model 3 Long Range weighs 4031 lbs. That’s 471 lbs more for the EV. According to EPA tests, the Model 3 has 353 miles range vs. the 330 xi at 437 miles. So, the Model 3 has 83 miles less range and 471 lbs more weight. Not equal to an ICE vehicle yet, but not that far off either. Defintitely not “tonnes” of batteries. Also, the BMW gives you a turbo 4 cylinder that can’t compare with the torque, quiet, and smoothness of the EV.

      • 0 avatar
        DC Bruce

        OK. And at the end of that range, it takes — what — 10 minutes to refuel that BMW and you’re good for another 437 miles.

        And how much time does it take to refuel that Model 3 for another 353 miles of range?

    • 0 avatar
      Pig_Iron

      “Those who can, do.”

      I guess that’s why Biden had to steal the election.

      • 0 avatar
        Old_WRX

        Pig_Iron,

        “I guess that’s why Biden had to steal the election.”

        Steal is such a strong word. Let’s just say that he felt it was his moral duty to commandeer it for the good of the people.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    The chief executive of Volvo needs to watch his mouth, or watch his back. It’s a dangerous world out there. It would be unfortunate to have an accident.

    – Signed, Certain Interests Who Make Big Bucks From ICE Vehicles

  • avatar
    Garrett

    He’s right about subsidies not being the way to go. Subsidies get capitalized into price increases — the purchaser isn’t saving $7500 (or whatever) on the cost of their electric vehicle, they’re paying $7500 more for it.

    Now, banning gasoline and going electric? Not a smart idea and not practical.

    There are some situations where electric is better. Those would be moderately high density areas where a car is necessary, but you don’t need to deal with large distances.

    High density doesn’t make sense for electric cars, because there’s not necessarily room. In those situations, you’d be better off with the Disneyland people mover or something similar.

    Low density areas are not suited for electric. Ever drive across Montana? Just finding a bathroom or a place to eat can be a challenge. Finding an electric charging station is not going to happen.

    The proper solution is DIVERSITY. As in, allow a diversity of powertrains, and let consumers decide. Make electric car manufacturers invest the time, money, and effort into making a credible competitor for gasoline engines.

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Posky

      Great comment.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve Biro

      Garrett is right. And I still think automakers are in for a rude surprise when they unveil their shiny, new all-electrics… and sales fall flat.

      I can envision some companies – that bet really big on EV’s – actually failing as a result. Such prospects do not make me happy.

      But we have to wake up. There is virtually no infrastructure, nor nearly enough power-generating capacity, to accommodate widespread adoption of EV’s. Nor will there be by 2030 or 2035.

      Pure EV’s remain not ready for prime time – no matter how much some people want them.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        Jay Leno supports EV’s and his take on it was interesting. To paraphrase, EV’s can take care of “the cars as an appliance” market. This improves greenhouse gases and conserves fuel. That means enthusiasts and those that actually need an ICE vehicle can continue using them.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          “That means enthusiasts and those that actually need an ICE vehicle can continue using them.”

          But is that how the regulations are going to be written? I’m not seeing any “Miata carve-outs” in the stuff Boris and Newsom signed.

          I think very few people are against BEV per se. What people (including me) take issue with are ban/mandate legislation.

          • 0 avatar
            HotPotato

            In the US, where this has only been discussed by some state governments, it’s more a statement of values than a barrier. Example: California’s eventual “ban” will only mean no sales of ICE new cars in the state. Sounds like that means you could still drive an ICE car, you’d just have to buy it used, or buy it across the state line. That’s not going to stop anyone who WANTS an ICE car, but it will be just inconvenient enough that people who are OPEN to driving an EV will do so.

  • avatar
    Carguy74

    My uncle has a country place
    That no one knows about
    He says it used to be a farm
    Before the Motor Law
    And now on Sundays, I elude the eyes
    And hop the turbine freight
    To far outside the wire where my
    White-haired uncle waits

    Rush Red Barachetta Peart’s lyrics to “Red Barchetta” were inspired by the short story “A Nice Morning Drive” by Richard S. Foster, originally written in the November 1973 edition of the American car magazine Road & Track

    Guess they were pretty prophetic…

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    In the US…

    1. Dictate “electric future” while having no feasible plan to expand the electric grid.
    2. ???
    3. Elysium.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    It must frighten boards of directors when their CEOs advocate the abolition of their current market, while having no competitive entries for the new market.

    This is the same company that claimed nobody would die in its cars by 2020:
    https://www.motorauthority.com/news/1082032_volvo-predicts-crash-proof-cars-by-2020-video

    Polestar 2 is nice, but it’s a premium low-volume player. Volvo is a small mfr that doesn’t lead in any areas, so his bold claims ring hollow for me.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      Sadly, I suspect the boards of directors push the CEOs to make these type of pronouncements.

      Typical board member reads Fortune (etc.) and sees that the future is a) China b) EV’s c) flavor of the decade and next thing you know is pressuring the CEO to take company X in that direction.

  • avatar
    Brett Woods

    I have been reading about a relationship between Aston Martin, Honda, McLaren, and a bogus advertising company with no employees called, “Clarendon Communications” that distributed a fake “science report” which was really a paid advertisement posing as real journalism.

    It was shown to be a concoction of misleading statements stirred into a hit piece against Volvo and electrified power trains in general. It was distributed to news outlets in the United Kingdom last week.

    Now I can understand some of the motivation given Mr. Samuelsson’s recent comments.

  • avatar

    10 years ago everyone was laughing at Tesla. But today Tesla can buy all these companies for peanuts. Volvo might be one of them – to sell Tesla clones in Sweden as Volvos.

  • avatar
    Roader

    The US is the world’s largest petroleum producer, China the world’s largest rare earth mineral producer. Little wonder that a Chinese company and the Communist Party of China want ICE vehicles banned throughout the world.

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    Hydrogen is the one and only future.

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    V90 Wagon R-Design is my favorite Volvo from the current lineup.
    It’s not EV.

  • avatar
    conundrum

    Volvo merging with Geely which already owns it through a holding company? Wow, who’d have guessed that might happen?

    A car company urging government to go all EV when that is all it has managed to plan for in new vehicles? What a surprise. The US policy on everything is because of business lobbying the “elected” representatives who forgot about regular citizens four decades or more ago. Pretty much the same everywhere in the West, and the EU countries are no different. Beholden to the World Economic Forum people who dictate policy. The WEF is a private get together for the big boys masquerading as some sort of intelligent for the good of the world outfit. As if.

    I guess if you were born since 1980 then the schemozzle we have now run by yapping business execs and billionaires is what you regard as the norm, because you never saw better.

  • avatar
    Vanillasludge

    I use the comments on this site as the perfect reverse barometer. Thanks to all for your excellent advice on politics, the environment and sociology.

  • avatar
    don1967

    “No one can build a successful and profitable business by relying on incentives”

    Of course Volvo cannot build a successful business by relying entirely on government support of Volvo products. They also need government suppression of non-Volvo products.

    Sounds like a balanced business plan for the new world order.

  • avatar

    I have to say, I am disappointed by most of the comments here. I have to (somewhat begrudgingly) agree with Håkan Samuelsson, both in practice, and in principle.

    From a practical perspective, BEVs are superior in almost every metric. Let’s just break it down to a few points:

    1. For BEV owners, “range anxiety” is vanishing very quickly. First of all, it’s a false narrative promoted by players who have something to lose as EVs gain dominance, and propogated by people who have been convinced by this onslaught. Second, as EV range expands to greater-than 500 km, even the long-distance road trips become painless. Most drivers (and this data is publicly available) desire or require a so-called “bio break” after less than 4 hours of driving. In most areas (even Montana, USA), there are sufficient L2 or better public charging stations _already_ for these scenarios. Using the high speed networks that are being rapidly deployed, these “bio breaks” can be as short as 15 minutes. Couple this with the rapid development of higher charging speeds and greater range, and it’s already become a non-issue for most EV owners. Granted, there certainly are rare cases where someone misjudges their range, but I honestly don’t understand how that happens. Anyway, even in those cases, many roadside assistance programs now include EV services such as “virtual jerry cans” to get a stranded driver to a charging station.

    2. The myth of power grid strain is just that, a myth. Most EV drivers charge their vehicles using “smart” charging options such as over night off-peak charging, etc. Many EV charging stations include local power generation by way of solar and local storage. As grid-level storage comes online, these perceived issues evaporate. Ramping up power generation is a comparatively trivial issue.

    3. Arguments about the environmental footprint of EVs often centre around some half-truths and some myths. While some EVs might have a greater manufacturing footprint than a comparable ICEv (even that is debatable), the fact is that as grid generation reduces its footprint so then does the EVs powered by it. Not so with ICEvs; in fact, ICEvs generally become less efficient over time, and over its lifetime will almost invariably have a much higher environmental footprint than the EV. Meanwhile, EV battery packs that become damaged or otherwise lose efficiency cen be refurbished & repurposed for grid-level storage.

    3. EVs are silent; noise pollution is a real problem, not just in urban areas. EVs stand to be one of the single most effective reductions in noise pollution worldwide.

    4. The physics of the electric motor provide much greater towing capacity, and thus as battery storage technologies ramp up, so too does their utility for moving heavy loads. This applies both to heavy freight as well as to recreational purposes. This, in turn, will reduce traffic hazards, for example, in mountainous zones during vacation seasons. If a vehicle is capable of towing its RV up a steep hill with no, or very little loss in speed, then fewer dangerous manoevers by other drivers will occur, etc.

    Obviously I could go on and on, but if this gets any longer no one will read it. As it is, that’s already probably the case.

    Long story short, Electric vehicles are absolutely the future, and any manufacturer that doesn’t realize this is going to be left in the cold. I applaud Volvo and their forward thinking here.

    Meanwhile, I’m drooling over the Polestar Precept.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “In most areas (even Montana, USA), there are sufficient L2 or better public charging stations _already_ for these scenarios. ”

      This is complete bunk. There is no organization I know of that claims the current EV charging infrastructure is sufficient at this time at any populated place in the world for a BEV majority fleet.

      In Helena, Montana there are *two* public charging stations that aren’t Telsa-owned. If you include Tesla there is one supercharger station with 8 outlets and 6 Tesla destination chargers (which I believe is only available for hotel or restaurant customers). You think that is going to be sufficient for a huge BEV market share with a 500km range (which I think only Tesla manages right now)?

      Where I live there are 140 charging stations currently. And again, a good percentage of those require you to either own a Tesla or be a patron of a restaurant or hotel. Roughly 10.5 million people visit my county during nonCovid years. There is no way that 140 nonuniversal charging stations could cover that, let alone adding in the local population that wouldn’t have access to at-home charging for whatever reason.

      ____________________

      “noise pollution is a real problem, not just in urban areas. EVs stand to be one of the single most effective reductions in noise pollution worldwide.”

      Please share your data on any of that because the impacts I’ve read (*especially* outside urban areas) won’t be much. Most modern nonperformance vehicles don’t have engine sound levels that exceed that of their tires going over the road.

      thetruthaboutcars.com/2016/06/will-electric-cars-quiet-roadways-not-fast/

      • 0 avatar

        [“In most areas (even Montana, USA), there are sufficient L2 or better public charging stations _already_ for these scenarios. ”

        This is complete bunk. There is no organization I know of that claims the current EV charging infrastructure is sufficient at this time at any populated place in the world for a BEV majority fleet.]

        So, this is an interesting concern, but isn’t precisely what I was saying. Note that I was talking about _right now, based on current usage scenarios_, it is painless for EV owners to take road trips, even through notoriously charging-station-sparse areas like Montana, US. This is led to “range anxiety” becoming a non-issue. However, I will agree with you that if we were to wave a magic wand and convert every single car on the road to an EV, there would certainly be a shortage for road-trippers. Not so much for most commuters with “normal” distance commutes. Even a 110V 15A regular socket is sufficient for >70km of range over a 12 hour period.

        But I agree, 10.5 million people sharing 140 stations sounds challenging. I daresay this isn’t the norm, but hey, fair point.

        As to Helena, MT, Plugshare shows 2 public chargers (3 stalls), 1 supercharger (8 stalls), and 2 hotels. Certainly not ready for 10 million visitors, I’ll give you that.

        But back to the original point of the article, and that I begrudgingly agree with Volvo’s CEO that a ban on gasoline cars has merit. A ban (typically) has meant “on new gasoline cars,” and this would have the effect of forcing manufacturers to innovate, encouraging entrepreneurs to innovate and find investment opportunities in things like more charging infrastructure, and so on. In my opinion, this is the way to go.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      @Reason Previals,

      a) I am terribly sorry to have disappointed you with my comments [if I did – “most” is a rather broad brush].

      II.b.3) You are incredibly noble to not only agree with Håkan, but to do it begrudgingly.

      VIII.r.4a) You are a talented writer – congratulations on finding a profession which fits your skillset. Do you enjoy working in PR?

      XII.s.7b) You did some ‘Level IV’ [EV pun – get it?] hand-waving here (on all 5 of your 4 points) – and then skipped right over the main thrust of Håkan’s argument.

      • 0 avatar

        @ToolGuy

        a) I am terribly sorry to have disappointed you with my comments [if I did – “most” is a rather broad brush].

        Well, yours weren’t the only comments I noticed, and I didn’t keep tabs on which comments most annoyed me. I don’t feel like you are actually sorry though … I’ll just assume I am just imagining the underlying snark.

        II.b.3) You are incredibly noble to not only agree with Håkan, but to do it begrudgingly.

        Again, perhaps the underlying snark here is entirely in my imagination. But if you’d like clarification about why my agreement might be begrudging, it’s because my part of the world derives a vast amount of its wealth from the fossil fuel industry, and my job is tangentially connected to the market price of oil.

        VIII.r.4a) You are a talented writer – congratulations on finding a profession which fits your skillset. Do you enjoy working in PR?

        Thank you for your congratulations, I figure I make a pretty decent power engineer in the petrochemical industry. I suspect that perhaps you thought something different.

        XII.s.7b) You did some ‘Level IV’ [EV pun – get it?] hand-waving here (on all 5 of your 4 points) – and then skipped right over the main thrust of Håkan’s argument.

        Indeed, that’s a fair point, but I daresay actually irrelevant. All of the points I made (all 5 of the 4 points, in fact) were items that seemed to be overlooked by the commenters here. I don’t think I even attempted anywhere to tie it back to the original article, that wasn’t the point of my comments. But maybe _closer_ to the point, I do indeed believe that a ban on new gasoline powered cars would have myriad benefits to … well, to civilization as a whole.

    • 0 avatar
      Daniel J

      1. With current technology, I drive multiple times a years to Florida, about a 10 hour drive. The only place between where I live and where I need to go is Atlanta, and from what I read last year was that most of the charging was typically tied up, not working, or far off the highway. This would have to drastically improve. But the real issue is this would tack on an additional hour or more to my drive.

      2. Where I live, during 3-4 months out of the year, Electricity heats most homes and the power companies are always telling us to reduce our thermostat at night during the winter because of the demand. When peak time is at NIGHT during the winter, how is that infrastructure going to hold up while charging cars, AT NIGHT.

      3. In regards to noise pollution, the only reason why many pedestrian accidents have been avoided is because pedestrians and cyclists can hear the cars. I jog all the time and if I didn’t hear a car coming I could have been hit especially when people go much faster than the speed limits in residential areas.

  • avatar
    CoastieLenn

    If (and that’s a big IF) this plan even has an iota of potential to come to fruition, has anyone considered that not only does support/supply infrastructure need to be drastically improved, but so does the disposal process for these batteries that are going to be flooding the roadways? Everyone always talks about the benefits to the environment, the increasing ease of use, the dwindling drawbacks of EV’s, but seldom does the topic come up of “What the hell do we do with all of these batteries that can’t be easily recycled?” EV car batteries have to be replaced what, every 5-7 years if the Institute of Energy Research is correct?

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