Just months after launching its first-ever electric car, Volvo has made the decision to convert to an all-electric vehicle company before the decade is out. The company announced today that it hopes to phase out all of its gas-guzzlers by 2030, to be replaced by an entirely new family of electric vehicles. Even more daring is its plan to only sell its EVs via online channels.
“We want to offer our customers peace of mind and a care-free way of having a Volvo, by taking away complexity while getting and driving the car,” said Lex Kerssemakers, head of global commercial operations at Volvo. “Simplification and convenience are key to everything we do.”
Obviously, these are lofty goals for the Swedish carmaker. Going from zero all-electric vehicles to a full lineup of them in less than a decade is going to be an uphill battle, to put it lightly, as is selling them exclusively digitally. They're admirable goals, for sure, but difficult to fulfill. But then, Volvo likes setting big goals for itself. It previously said it wanted to ensure by 2020 that no Volvo crashes would cause fatalities.
Svelte C40 incoming — Volvo also announced today the second “pure” electric vehicle in its lineup: the C40 Recharge. It’s a slim all-electric SUV that might look kind of familiar because it’s essentially the same as Volvo’s first all-electric vehicle, the XC40 Recharge.
The C40 Recharge is slightly smaller than its direct predecessor; Volvo calls it “lower” and “sleeker” than a typical SUV. Right now it’s certified to get about a 200-mile range on a single charge of its 78 kWh battery, which takes about eight hours to replenish on a conventional charging system. That's not particularly impressive, and Volvo will have to offer far greater range if it's to compete with the likes of Tesla, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz in years to come.
Big dreams, big failure? — By 2025, Volvo hopes half of its lineup will be all-electric vehicles; by 2030 it aims to have no gas-powered vehicles for sale at all. That’s an enormous goal for any automaker — never mind one that, until December, hadn’t even released an all-electric vehicle for sale.
It’s a promise we’re seeing with increasing frequency as of late. Big-name brands have accepted electric vehicles are here to stay. Even legacy companies like Cadillac-maker GM are planning to make the switch to all-electric by 2030.
These lofty promises bring with them a huge potential for failure. Switching to an all-electric lineup takes more than just manufacturing new cars — companies have to consider a full ecosystem for those cars, including charging solutions. What good is a beautiful electric vehicle if you can’t drive it more than a hundred miles or so from home?