The end of petrol? What the Volvo announcement means for the industry
It’s been a good 130 years for the internal combustion engine - but its days may now be numbered. Here at Big Motoring World we were certainly intrigued by the recent announcement from Volvo that from 2019, all of their new models be powered by electric motors - but what does it really mean for the industry?
An electric revolution
The company plans to launch five brand new models - all fully electric - 2019 and 2021. The big news is that while the company will still produce some hybrid vehicles, electric motors will be the principal driving force behind every new model produced by Volvo. The company themselves have described their announcement as "one of the most significant moves by any car maker" - and it is certainly bold. They’ve also claimed that the decision has been driven by customer demand - positioning themselves as a business that is innovative and customer focused. “People increasingly demand electrified cars and we want to respond to our customers' current and future needs,” says Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson. “This is about the customer. People increasingly demand electrified cars, and we want to respond to our customers’ current and future needs. You can now pick and choose whichever electrified Volvo you wish.”
The bigger picture
But what are the industry experts making of Volvo’s announcement? “It’s indicative of the speeding up of the shift over to electrics, particularly in the wake of the VW dieselgate scandal, and it’s a sign that the industry is really starting to move and it will become mainstream,” says Professor David Bailey of Aston University. “By the mid-2020s I expect there to be a tipping point where the electric car starts to outcompete the internal combustion engine. It’s the way it’s going.”
A green movement
So have Volvo stolen a march on the rest of the industry with their decision to go fully electric? Well, while the announcement is certainly headline-grabbing, it should be seen within the context of a wider movement within the industry as a whole. In the face of pressure to reduce carbon emissions, many manufacturers are launching both fully electric or hybrid models - not least BMW. The company’s BMWi models are proving popular, and there are plans to release an all-electric version of the well-loved 3-Series later on in the year. These are exciting times for our industry, and it seems there is plenty more good news around electric innovation to come.