The electric vehicle market is thriving and continues to burgeon as charging point networks and infrastructure are expanded, whilst legislation is passed in halls of power to prohibit sales of vehicle that exceed a determined emission limit, introduce subsidies for electric and hybrid vehicles, and expedite the transitions to more sustainable economies and greener motoring cultures. In response to this consequential growth in the demand for electric vehicles, Volvo have recently announced that, by 2030, their entire pool of vehicles will have all been electrified, in which both combustion engine and hybrid vehicles will have been phased out of production by then.
However, Volvo were not the first brand to make this dedication to completely eliminate any vehicles in their range that do not run on an electric powertrain, with Ford previously making a similar promise for only electric vehicles to be offered to the European market by the same deadline of 2030, whereas Jaguar made a far more ambitious commitment, assuring consumers that all Jaguars would be electric only by 2025.
This is coupled with Volvo’s desire to greatly expand their electric sect of vehicles, of which they have suggested there will be seven, including the already released XC40 Recharge P8 and new C40 Recharge (both of which are based on Volvo’s Compact Modular Architecture platform). The firm’s “mid-decade electric portfolio” has indicated that we can expect an electric model underpinned by the SEA (Sustainable Experience Architecture) platform developed by Volvo’s parent company Geely that will be slightly smaller than a 40 series, a 20 series, an XC60, and an XC90, all of which will feature electric technologies exclusively.
So although Volvo has only officially released only two electric vehicles as of now, they have verified that they have plans to enlarge their electric range significantly by the middle of the decade and become a prepotent entity in the market for premium, luxury electric vehicles, with Bjorn Annwall, Volvo’s head of Europe, stating that this segment will be “the fastest growing part of the automotive market”, whilst also vowing to loyal customers that Volvo would pursue the goal of protecting the planet with the same fervour that they seek to ensure the safety of individuals who purchase their vehicles.
Moreover, CEO Hakan Samuelsson has declared that “To remain successful, we need profitable growth. So instead of investing in a shrinking business, we chose to invest in the future - electric and online…. We are fully focused on becoming a leader in the fast-growing premium electric segment.” To compliment this and to further justify Volvo’s transition towards electric, Volvo’s chief technology officer Henrik Green expressed that “there is no long-term future for cars with an internal combustion engine.”
Volvo’s ultimate decision to abandon combustion engine vehicles and refusal to expend further resources on their development demonstrates the company’s prudence but also their understanding of the inexorable trends in consumer activity towards electrification, in which the rate at this is occurring will only be accelerated in the coming months and years and the exponential growth of the electric market that is in turn provoking a decline in the market for conventional combustion engine vehicles. Volvo’s other decision to move the majority of their marketing and sales online also conveys how they are concentrated on preserving and even increasing their fortunes as they move into the future, in which the rising proportion of sales carried out online have rationalised their trajectory.
All of Volvo’s electric vehicles, including those yet to come, will only be sold using online services and sales systems, in order to simplify and remove any unnecessary complexities from the process of purchasing a car, while allegedly making this far more transparent to the customer in order to develop trust between company and consumer. Aside from facilitating sales and increasing convenience for the benefit of the customer, Volvo will bestow all future models to be sold with the Car by Volvo package, which will provide roadside assistance, maintenance, scheduled servicing, warranty, and other privileges. As Volvo transfers their services online, it is likely that this subscription scheme will become a crucial part of the company’s apparatus.
To assuage any concerns that dealerships will be made obsolete, Volvo have been quick to divulge that dealerships will still provide servicing, test drives and delivery of vehicles, in which orders and purchases will be consigned to the Volvo website when the customer communicates the intention to buy.
While Volvo may be one of the leading companies in terms of its ambitions to prepare for the future of the automotive industry, other manufacturers and brands will continue to follow the example they have set in response to the general motion that global demand and certain sectors of the vehicle market are taking. And as more and more firms proceed to dedicate themselves to e-mobility, we are reminded ever more frequently that the future of cars is irrefutably electric.
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