Volvo to go all electric starting in 2019

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An electrical cord in the outlet for the Volvo XC-60 Plug-in Hybrid concept car in 2012. (Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images)
Volvo is to put an electric motor in every new model it produces from 2019 as it seeks to lead legacy carmakers’ shift to electric propulsion.

The company announced the decision, which it described as “historic”, in a press release on Wednesday morning.

“It’s a crucially important decision for Volvo going into a more carbon-free mobility, but also I think it’s a great move to strengthn our brand,” Chief Executive Håkan Samuelsson told Swedish Radio.

He said the company was responding to customer demand.

“They are asking and requiring all-electric cars in a greater extent. And If we are going to come down further in CO2 levels, we have to go electric.”

A million electric cars sold by 2025?

The Chinese-owned company will continue to make combustion-engine Volvos but only from models put on the market before 2019.

Samuelsson said that the enhanced focus would support its target of selling a million electric cars by 2025.

“We said that because we mean it and this is how we are going to reach that goal,” Samuelsson said.

Swedish Radio P4 West report Victor Jensen says Volvo are trying to catch up in the electric car market.

Volvo has to come on this train and they are a little bit behind. They have no electric cars now, so they are trying to overtake the other carmakers.
Catching up with other manufacturers

Martin Prieto Beaulieu, a spokesman for the electric car owners lobby group Gröna Bilister, said the announcement had come as a surprise.

“I pretty much fell off my chair when I heard it,” he said. “I think that this is something of a game-changer.”

Volvo’s bold plan sees it playing catch-up with many of the other major car manufacturers, several of whom have been investing heavily in electric vehicles.

“Volvo at the moment doesn’t have any pure EV on sale, so they are a little bit behind the other car makers,” explained Swedish Radio reporter Victor Jensen, who was one of the first to interview Samuelsson about the move.

Volvo is owned by the Chinese company Geely and has 30,000 employees divided between Torlsanda, near Gothenburg, and China.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada:  VIDEO: Do mobility devices in the Arctic need a rethink?, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: When it comes to electric cars, Finland lags behind Nordic neighbours, Yle News

Norway: Norway reaches 50,000 electric cars sales, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Breaking the ice with loads of Russian nuclear waste, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Northern Sweden cities on shortlist for battery gigafactory, Radio Sweden

United States: Alaska warms to solar power as prices fall and benefits grow, Alaska Dispatch News

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