Volvo has committed to making its entire model line-up fully electric by 2030, accelerating its plans to phase out combustion engined vehicles - and will also move sales of all its EV models online. The announcement comes ahead of Volvo launching its second electric car later.
In 2019 the Swedish firm, owned by the Chinese Geely group, committed to becoming a fully electric car brand within 20 years, with company boss Hakan Samuelsson saying at the time that customer demand would set the exact timetable. That included the goal of making half of its sales EVs by 2025, with the rest plug-in hybrid.
Volvo’s target to become fully electric within nine years marks an acceleration of that target, which the firm says is driven by strong early demand for its first EV, the XC40 Recharge P8 and the expectation that legislation and the expansion of charging infrastructure will increase customer demand for EVs. The UK, for example, has committed to banning sales of virtually all non-zero emission new cars from 2030 onwards.
“To remain successful, we need profitable growth. So instead of investing in a shrinking business, we choose to invest in the future – electric and online,” said Samuelsson. “We are fully focused on becoming a leader in the fast-growing premium electric segment.”
Henrik Green, Volvo’s chief technology officer, added that “there is no long-term future for cars with an internal combustion engine.”
Volvo has already taken steps towards a full electric shift, including merging its combustion engine programme with sister firm Geely’s, and divesting that into a standalone company.
Volvo revealed its first electric car, the XC40 Recharge P8, in late 2019, and customer deliveries have just started in the UK. It will reveal its second EV, which it has described as a “new model in the 40 Series”, later today.
Volvo as released a graphic showing its 'mid-decade electric portfolio', which confirms that it is aiming to offer seven full EVs by then, which include the XC40 Recharge and the new 40 Series model. The firm is also working on a small model based on Geely's new SEA electric architecture that will sit underneath the 40 series models, and will likely introduce a 20 series.
The firm has also confirmed it will launch a full electric version of the next XC90, which is due next year, and will likely also develop an electric version of the XC60.
Volvo to shift to online-only sales for EVs
Volvo will only sell its new line-up of electric cars online, as part of a series of steps that the firm says will simplify its sales models.
The firm has committed to investing heavily in its online sales systems, and will also switch to "transparent and set pricing models" as part of moves to "radically reduce complexity" in its product line-up.
While the sales process is described as 'online-only', Volvo says that dealerships will still be heavily involved in the process. As well as offering test drives, delivery and servicing, they will also be able to show vehicles to customers and help them choose as traditional. If customers want to order in a showroom, the dealer will then complete the order through Volvo's website.
Lex Kerssemakers, Volvo's commercial boss, said: "The future of Volvo Cars is defined by three pillars: electric, online and growth. 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. Simplification and convenience are key to everything we do."
As well as being sold primarily online, all future models will come with its Care by Volvo customer care package, which will be expanded to include service, warranty, roadside assistance and, in certain markets, insurance and home charging.Care by Volvo has previously been used for Volvo's recently launched subscription service. That scheme is likely to be expanded as part of the online shift.
The online shift, an approach similar to that used by sister firm Polestar, is part of Volvo's increased focus to become a market leader in the premium electric segment.
“Online and off-line need to be fully and seamlessly integrated," said Kerssemakers. “Wherever the customer is in their journey – online, in a showroom, in a Volvo Studio, or driving the car – the customer experience needs to be top-notch."
Volvo says that it will rework its online store to simplify the purchase process for new cars, offering pre-configured models that will be ready for quick delivery. It also says switching to a set pricing model will eliminate the need to negotiate, which it says "increases transparency and builds trust."