Volvo announced today it would be the first big, burly international automaker to do away with entirely gasoline engines in all of its vehicles. By 2019, any car with an upper class Swedish accent will use a hybrid fuel system or an electric motor.
It’s fair to assume the entire automotive industry is headed in the same direction eventually. In the proverbial not too distant future, the vast majority of consumer cars will be alternative fuel. If gasoline engines hang on at all, they’ll serve devoted performance or track day cars. Volvo is just getting the electric show on the road early.
The pre-calculated move makes sense for Volvo for a couple reasons. First, drivers never necessarily identify Volvo with performance cars. Speed and power minded shoppers looking to spend Volvo-type money on a sedan or SUV look first to an AMG badged BMW or and F Sport Lexus. That’s not entirely fair as recent Volvos offer a Dynamic driving mode that can get the pulse higher. Still, in the end, money heads Volvo’s way for luxury, durability and safety — no matter what makes it all move.
The other reason for this electric urgency is Volvo’s Chinese parent company – Geely. Current air pollution is severe enough through China that the rush is on introduce more electric cars onto the country’s roads. So, Volvo is positioning itself to get a fresh air jump on the competition in the Asian market.