Volvo is a brand usually renowned for its intense focus on safety.
For decades now, it has strived to produce cars that are safer than everything else out there, with its models regularly being named best in class for safety features.
By 2020, all new Volvo cars will be deathproof – in the way that no one travelling inside a Volvo will die as a result of a collision. It sounds ridiculous but they’re actually doing it because no road deaths have been recorded in the XC90 since 2004 when records began. Now, the Swedish brand is turning its attention to electric cars, aiming for half its sales to be fully electric by 2025.
This follows a previous announcement back in July 2017 that every Volvo launched from 2019 would have an electric motor involved in its powertrain at some stage, be it a petrol/diesel-electric hybrid or a full-on EV. But this massive claim significantly expands the brand’s electric ambition.
So where are the Volvo EVs?
At this moment, you can’t buy an all-electric Volvo. In fact, one hasn’t even been confirmed for production so it’ll be at least 18 months before one enters showrooms. On top of that, only five models can be ordered as a plug-in hybrid (XC90, V90, S90, XC60 and V60).
We’re not doubting Volvo’s ability to electrify half its sales by 2025 (look at its success in terms of vehicle safety), but it’s such a short space of time for such a radical shift. Some of you might be asking why Volvo would impose this tight deadline on themselves – part of the answer is China.
‘China’s electric future’
The country is the world’s leading market for electrified cars. Chinese motorists bought half of the 1.2 million plug-in vehicles sold worldwide in 2017 and experts predict they could be snapping up two million a year by 2020.
To put that in perspective, only 200,000 EVs were sold in the US in 2017 – a third of what China shifted. China is also Volvo’s largest market, representing around a fifth of the brand’s global sales. It all makes sense now, eh? Making the announcement during April’s Beijing Auto Show, Volvo Cars president Håkan Samuelsson said: “Last year, we made a commitment to electrification in preparation for an era beyond the internal combustion engine.
“Today, we reinforce and expand that commitment in the world’s leading market for electrified cars. China’s electric future is Volvo Cars’ electric future.” Too right – any brand would be devastated to lose its biggest market and Volvo is clearly wasting no time in making sure it retains such a valuable territory.
On Volvo’s Beijing Auto Show stand this year, you would only find plug-in hybrids – a gesture intended to visually reinforce the company’s position as a leading name in vehicle electrification. Volvo even builds its hybrids in China, with production of the XC60, S90 and S90L T8 Twin Engine models being handled at its Luqiao, Chengdu and Daqing plants.
Would you buy an electric Volvo? Is this another nail in the diesel coffin? Let us know down in the comments.
For more articles like this, receive our weekly e-newsletter, including partner deals and all things motoring, register your email below.