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All Electric for Volvo but Not Petrol-free

Posted on July 19th, 2017 by in New Materials & Applications

For more than 130 years, the internal combustion engine has dutifully served the automotive industry. Could the recent move by Volvo Cars sound its death knell?

Volvo Cars announced electrification is at the center of its product strategy committing that every car model launched from 2019 will have an electric motor. While this may initially seem unrealistic considering a runway of less than two years, keep in mind the promise is not for pure electric in that time frame. Volvo will continue to use internal combustion engines (ICE), but each will be supplemented by electric motors. Pure ICE cars will be phased out over time by the new enhanced electrified models.

“This announcement marks the end of the sole combustion engine-powered car,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive. “Volvo Cars has stated that it plans to have sold a total of 1 million electrified cars by 2025. When we said it we meant it. This is how we are going to do it.”

The company’s electrified powertrain strategy includes three variants:

  1. Mild Hybrid – A 48-volt system using a combination of a battery that stores energy and an ICE as a starter and generator.
  2. Plug-in Hybrid – Available today, the twin engine system switches between combustion and electric drivetrains to balance performance with fuel economy/emissions.
  3. Battery Electric – A “pure” electric model having no ICE. Between 2019 – 2021, Volvo Cars plans to launch 5 pure electric models, two of which will be high-performance vehicles from Polestar, Volvo Cars’ performance car arm.

Check out this brief video from Volvo for more on their electrified strategy and plans:

Being a mechanical engineer and growing up in the era of heavy Detroit iron – owning several classic Mustangs over the years – I must admit a fondness for the roar of a big block V8. Nowadays, I’m more attuned to cruising on two wheels powered by a V-twin but have been attentively watching the electric car market. Hybrid electric vehicle sales as of 2015 represent only 2.21% market share of new car sales, trending downward from a high of 3.19% in 2013. Will Volvo’s bold strategy be like lightning to consumers finally moving them toward electric vehicles or will they retain the thunder of the familiar ICE? At 2019, the storm’s just around the corner.

What’s holding you from making the switch to an electric vehicle? Tell us about your quest for unconventional knowledge and what it could mean for the future of your products or companies. Share your thoughts in the comments section below and don’t forget to follow us on your favorite social media channel.

All opinions shared in this post are the author’s own.

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