Volvo CEO, Hakan Samuelsson, is betting the company’s future on electric power- especially in the face of the EU’s upcoming regulations limiting carbon-dioxide emissions to less than 95 g/km. “At under 95 (g/km),” says Samuelsson, “diesel will not be able to help us. Only electrification can.”
Volvo’s first fully-electric, mass-market vehicle is expected to reach the market in 2019 and cost less than $40,000. But a larger, more premium offering set to take on cars like the Tesla Model S may beat that one to market, if Samuelsson seems enough demand. “We are developing not just one model but electrification for the small platform and also for the larger platforms, and we haven’t revealed which one will be the first.”
It’s important to note, here, that Volvo doesn’t see emissions regulations as the only driver towards an electric line-up. “Electrification is not just about lower emissions,” Samuelsson told Ward’s. “It’s about having a convenient powertrain that when you drive one it’s very difficult to say that there is anything wrong with it … with high acceleration (and) quiet, little or no transmission noise. So, once we bring down the cost, it becomes a very good proposition. People will buy it not just because of lower emissions, but because it’s good technology.”
Volvo is expected to release a hybrid T8 version of its all-new XC60 SUV and upcoming S60 sedan soon, with a pure electric version expected to follow after the opening of the company’s South Carolina factory later this year.