Industry Must Go All-In On Electric Says Volvo Boss

Wed 2nd Dec 2020

The motor manufacturing industry must embrace the change to electric vehicles as fast as possible says the chief executive of Volvo cars.

Håkan Samuelsson has said that the future is electric, and that keeping all options open for petrol and diesel will only slow the industry down. Volvo have committed to building only hybrid or fully electric models by 2025 and will be electric only within the next two decades.

“The [Covid-19] pandemic has increased the understanding that the car industry needs to change. At Volvo, we believe electric is the way to go and said: ‘Let’s transform into an electric car company,’” Samuelsson said at this week’s Financial Times Future of the Car event.

“If we don’t sell electric cars, nobody will invest in charging, so we have decided we cannot have that as an excuse and wait until charging increases. It will come and I don’t think anyone will have trouble charging their cars at the moment. In our view, the car industry will become electric and the clearer that signal is, the faster it will go.”

Samuelsson would have been paying close attention to the UK government’s bold plans to ban petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030, a project which would work well for Volvo with them five years ahead of the curve.

 “The first reaction is that it’s a bit fast and that’s not good,” the Volvo boss said. “But I have a more humble reaction. If you look at how we pushed for safe cars, that happened 40 years ago and then regulations came in for seatbelts and crash bags and so on. That happened really fast and enabled better mobility, and that was not enabled with threats or incentives, but old-fashioned rules. So maybe the way forward should be to have clear rules of when we need to go to electric combustion.

“Once you realise the petrol and diesel engines are not part of the future, you say: ‘Okay let’s go fast into the new world.’ We have taken that conclusion and Volvo will be very careful at delivering only electric engines before anyone legally requires it.”