While there are more than a few automakers that will argue the time for a comprehensive electrification strategy has been here for some time, Volvo says it is jumping on board and will retail a fully electric car by 2019.
The Swedish brand said it will embark on an ambitious product strategy that calls for the introduction of plug-in hybrids across its entire range and an entirely new range of electrified smaller cars.
As part of this new strategy, automaker says it expects electrified vehicles to account for up to 10 per cent of total car sales by 2020.
“We believe that the time has come for electrified cars to cease being a niche technology and enter the mainstream,” Volvo chief Håkan Samuelsson said in a statement.
The first element involves the introduction of plug-in hybrid versions of its 90 series and 60 series larger cars, based on the company’s new Scalable Product Architecture.
This process has already begun with the launch of the T8 twin engine all-wheel drive plug-in hybrid version of its new XC90 SUV and will continue with plug-in hybrid versions of the new S90 sedan and other forthcoming models.
Volvo says it will also broaden the range of plug-in hybrid cars it offers with the introduction of a new front-wheel drive twin engine variant.
Product offerings will deepen with the introduction of an entirely new range of smaller 40 series cars based on its newly developed Compact Modular Architecture (CMA), which, like SPA, has been designed from the outset for electrification.
“This makes Volvo Car Group one of very few car makers in the world with two brand new vehicle architectures designed to support both plug-in and pure electric powertrain configurations,” the company said.
“We have learned a lot about how people use cars with electrification thanks to our current product offer,” said Peter Mertens, senior V-P for research and development. “Our research has shown that people are driving our Twin Engine cars in electric mode around 50 per cent of the time, meaning our plug-in hybrids already offer a real alternative to conventional powertrain systems.”
He added that with roughly 40 years of experience in the field of electrification, Volvo has learned a lot about battery management.
“We have come to a point where the cost versus benefit calculation for electrification is now almost positive. Battery technology has improved, costs are going down, and public acceptance of electrification is no longer a question.”