On Wednesday, Volvo Cars announced that all new models introduced from 2019 will feature some form of electric propulsion. The news follows an announcement in May that diesel engines have no future with the brand, in part because of ever-stricter EU carbon emissions targets, but also because of the growing concern over the health effects of diesel exhaust, which is loaded with particulates and nitrogen oxides.
When it comes to socially responsible car companies, Volvo appears to be leading the pack. The Swedish automaker, which built its reputation on safety, has already committed to a goal of reducing the number of deaths or serious injuries in a new Volvo to zero by the year 2020. And it looks like that concern extends beyond the wellbeing of its customers to the rest of us as well.
Between 2019 and 2021, Volvo plans to launch five new electric vehicles. Details about the new EVs are scarce at present, but the company says that three of them will be badged as Volvos, and the other two will be high-performance EVs badged as Polestars. (Polestar is Volvo's in-house tuning operation, and you'll be able to read a review of the S60 Polestar here at Ars in a few weeks.)
In addition to the five new EVs, the company announced that every other new Volvo from 2019 will feature some form of hybridization, whether that's a plug-in hybrid (like the XC90 T8 we tested last year) or a 48-volt "mild hybrid" system.
This announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car. Volvo Cars has stated that it plans to have sold a total of 1m electrified cars by 2025. When we said it we meant it. This is how we are going to do it," said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo Cars. (Volvo Cars is a separate company to Volvo Trucks, so this announcement does not concern any heavy-duty vehicles.)
While ever-stricter EU emissions regulations are undoubtedly a significant factor in Volvo's plan, Autocar suggests that the need to do well in China is also at play here. (Volvo has been owned by Chinese automotive giant Geely since 2010.) China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology recently stated it wants 20 percent of new vehicles sold in 2025 to be "new energy vehicles," a figure that should equate to seven million hybrids and EVs.