Log in | Subscribe | RSS feed

What’s New

Volvo Cars announce electric powertrain strategy

14 July 2017

Volvo Cars announced last week that every new Volvo model it launches from 2019 will have an electric motor in its powertrain, marking the “historic end” of cars that only have an internal combustion engine (ICE).

The skilfully worded press release from Volvo Cars—a wholly owned subsidiary of China’s Geely—attracted significant attention, with some general media outlets speculating whether Volvo is about to “save the planet”. In reality, however, Volvo is not going to sell electric cars only. Under the new powertrain strategy, most Volvo vehicles will be mild hybrids and plug-in hybrids, equipped with both a gasoline or diesel engine and an electric motor.

Volvo Cars said 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 electric cars from Polestar, Volvo Cars’ performance brand. Full details of these models will be announced at a later date, said the company.

The five electric cars will be supplemented by a range of gasoline and diesel plug-in hybrid and mild hybrid 48 volt options on all models. This means that pure ICE cars are to be gradually phased out and replaced by ICE cars that are enhanced with electrified options, said Volvo Cars. The company did not specify any deadlines when their existing ICE-only models would be discontinued.

Increased vehicle electrification has been pursued by a number of car makers to increase fuel economy and reduce GHG emissions. However, the future automotive technology largely depends on the technical progress and cost reduction of battery electric vehicles (BEV). If BEVs become cost competitive with hybrids, and if sufficient vehicle charging infrastructure is developed, the significance of hybrids—which utilize both the ICE and an electric motor, making them a costly option—may be quickly diminished.

Source: Volvo Cars