Volvo is the first mainstream carmaker to ‘flick the switch’, declaring all new models will feature some sort of electrification from 2019.
For customers, that means many new models will come with a floor full of batteries, offering some form of either hybrid or full-electric powerplants as Volvo steps into the 2020s and petrol- or diesel-only engines are phased out.
While its current Drive-E engines have only been with us for a few years, Volvo has already hinted that it is keen to move away from diesel, and this week’s announcement arguably supports that position.
And while Volvo makes no mention of the manual transmission with this announement, a world of models that must feature an electric motor under an all-encompassing plan might spell the beginning of the end for three-pedal Volvos (already a reality in Australia).
“This is about the customer,” Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson said.
“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.”
The switch won’t be immediate, as Volvo said it will offer EV, plug-in hybrid and ‘mild hybrid’ cars.
For the latter, Volvo’s historic announcement is muddied somewhat. The carmaker admits some of its models will simply switch to 48-volt upgraded electrical systems (as others have done) with small electric motors (also acting as starter motors) for improved energy storage and fuel economy. In other words, the internal combustion engine will be required 100 percent of the time when the car is in use, and any electric-only range is unlikely.
Volvo customers can expect to see much of the current range with hybrid powerplants from 2019, but the carmaker also promises five fully-electric models between 2019 and 2021.
To that end, the recent announcement that performance offshoot Polestar will switch to electric vehicles has been bolstered with two of the five models to be “high performance” electric Polestar variants.
Stay tuned to TMR for more.