Swedish automaker Volvo is stepping up its shift to electric vehicles, announcing that its entire fleet will be battery-powered by 2030. It’s the latest carmaker to make such a commitment. General Motors has said all its cars will be electric by 2035, and Ford recently announced the goal of being fully electric in Europe by 2030.
Volvo said it is already phasing out gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles and will even end production of hybrids, which use a small gasoline engine to recharge the battery. The company's transition towards becoming a fully electric car maker -- as well as the electrification of the industry -- is based on the belief that consumers will embrace the technology.
Volvo said the move is also based on the expectation that governments around the world will require it, but a report last year from J.D. Power warned automakers they may be getting ahead of consumer sentiment.
Consumers may require some convincing
Citing its Mobility Confidence Index Study, J.D. Power found that consumers have little interest in either electric or self-driving automobiles. American and Canadian consumers cited the availability of charging stations, vehicle driving range, and purchase price as the top three barriers to adoption.
The report notes that there are thousands more charging stations than there were in 1997, when the report first began measuring consumer attitudes about electric vehicles. Volvo said it believes the continued expansion of charging infrastructure will accelerate consumer acceptance of fully electric cars.
Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson said the company believes fossil fuels and the internal combustion engine will find less appeal to consumers in the future.
"To remain successful, we need profitable growth,” Samuelsson said. “So instead of investing in a shrinking business, we choose to invest in the future – electric and online."
Online sales spike during the pandemic
Online sales got a huge boost over the last 12 months as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic quickly altered the way car dealers sold vehicles, and that trend appears to be permanent. The company said its all-electric models will only be available for purchase online.
Volvo is relatively new to the all-electric game. It launched its first fully electric car, the XC40 Recharge, in markets around the world last year. The company said it is ready to introduce its second fully electric car, a new model in the 40 Series.