Volvo declares that electricity is the way of the future
Volvo has revealed details of its plan to electrify its model range with a host of petrol plug-in hybrid versions and at least one Tesla-style pure electric stand-alone model.
The move marks a shift in strategy for the manufacturer away from more conventional high-economy diesel engines, which have until now been a core part of its efforts to produce more fuel-efficient cars.
The company now says it believes that petrol plug-in hybrid cars will offer customers the best combination of efficiency, range and convenience in the future.
Details of the new line-up haven’t yet been confirmed, but Volvo says the transformation has begun with the recently-launched XC90 T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid.
Further plug-in models will form a part of the 90-series executive sedan and station wagon model range, which are targeted at the BMW 5 Series, Audi A6 and Mercedes E-Class, as well as the existing 60-series line-up.
These models will be followed by an entirely new 40-series range, replacing the current V40, which will include several plug-in hybrid variants.
The new 40-series will be based on a new platform which will mean the manufacturer has only two platforms underpinning its entire range.
Both have been designed from the outset to support both plug-in hybrid and pure electric models.
“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,” said Dr Peter Mertens, senior vice-president for research and development.
“We believe that the time has come for electrified cars to cease being a niche technology and enter the mainstream,” added Hakan Samuelsson, president and CEO of Volvo Cars.
“We are confident that by 2020, 10 per cent of Volvo’s global sales will be electrified cars.”
Public confidence in diesel models has taken a dent recently, with suggestions of surcharges for diesel vehicles in European cities and then with the VW diesel emissions scandal. Volkswagen is one of Volvo’s largest rivals.