Bye-bye gasoline- and diesel-only drivetrains!

Swedish automaker Volvo has just announced that every car it launches from 2019 onward will have an electric motor, in a move to gradually phase out and replace internal combustion engines with more efficient and environmentally friendly drivetrains. While this doesn’t mean that Volvo will give up on gasoline and diesel engines altogether, it will make it the first premium carmaker that puts an electric motor in each and every vehicle in its lineup. And on top of turning its current cars into hybrids, Volvo also plans to launch five all-electric vehicles between 2019 and 2021. Not many details are available, but Volvo says three will be Volvo models, while to will be high-performance Polestar versions.

The firm added that these five cars will be supplemented by a range of gasoline and diesel plug-in hybrid and mild hybrid options on all models, which confirms that the EVs will be built on the current scalable platforms, meaning they will carry familiar nameplates. Expect a hatchback, a sedan, and a crossover to be the first to gain all-electric drivetrains. “This is about the customer,” said Håkan Samuelsson, Volvo president and chief executive. “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.”

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Why it Matters?

Volvo To Sell Only Hybrids in 2019; Promises 5 EVs by 2021
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Switching to hybrid drivetrains only seems like the next logical step for the Swedish brand

While Volvo isn’t the first automaker to take the electrification route, it’s the first to actually commit to no longer offer gasoline- and diesel-only vehicles. This is a big deal as most carmakers find it difficult to give up on internal combustion engines, which are still in high demand, especially in the high-performance market. And, if the past is any indication, Volvo will achieve this goal, much as it did with phasing out large-displacement, six- and eight-cylinder engines. In 2013, Volvo described V-8 engines as "dinosaurs" and pledged to eliminate all large-displacement engines from its lineup. Come 2017, and all new Volvo vehicles feature four-cylinder engines only, some backed by electric motors in plug-in hybrid versions.

Switching to hybrid drivetrains only seems like the next logical step for the Swedish brand, which now wants to dramatically reduce its carbon footprint. It’s quite the quick transformation for a brand that was still offering a V-8 in the XC90 back in 2014. And if this radical commitment is any indication, it won’t be long until Volvo announces a switch to all-electric drivetrains only. Meanwhile, all we can hope is that Volvo’s decision will inspire other major automakers to adopt electrification.

Press release

Volvo Cars, the premium car maker, has announced that every Volvo it launches from 2019 will have an electric motor, marking the historic end of cars that only have an internal combustion engine (ICE) and placing electrification at the core of its future business.

Volvo To Sell Only Hybrids in 2019; Promises 5 EVs by 2021
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The announcement represents one of the most significant moves by any car maker to embrace electrification and highlights how over a century after the invention of the internal combustion engine electrification is paving the way for a new chapter in automotive history.

“This is about the customer,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive. “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.”

Volvo Cars will introduce a portfolio of electrified cars across its model range, embracing fully electric cars, plug in hybrid cars and mild hybrid cars.

It will launch five fully electric cars between 2019 and 2021, three of which will be Volvo models and two of which will be high performance electrified cars from Polestar, Volvo Cars’ performance car arm. Full details of these models will be announced at a later date.

These five cars will be supplemented by a range of petrol and diesel plug in hybrid and mild hybrid 48 volt options on all models, representing one of the broadest electrified car offerings of any car maker.

Volvo To Sell Only Hybrids in 2019; Promises 5 EVs by 2021
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This means that there will in future be no Volvo cars without an electric motor, as pure ICE cars are gradually phased out and replaced by ICE cars that are enhanced with electrified options.

“This announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car,” said Mr Samuelsson. “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.”

The announcement underlines Volvo Cars’ commitment to minimising its environmental impact and making the cities of the future cleaner. Volvo Cars is focused on reducing the carbon emissions of both its products as well as its operations. It aims to have climate neutral manufacturing operations by 2025.

The decision also follows this month’s announcement that Volvo Cars will turn Polestar into a new separately-branded electrified global high performance car company. Thomas Ingenlath, Senior Vice President Design at Volvo Cars, will lead Polestar as Chief Executive Officer.

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