Volvo will become the first major car manufacturer to go all electric, with the Swedish company saying that every car in its range will have an electric power train available from 2019.
The company said the announcement marks “the historic end” of cars solely powered by petrol or diesel and “places electrification at the core of its future business”.
“This is about the customer,” said Håkan Samuelsson, chief executive. “People increasingly demand electrified cars and we want to respond to our customers’ current and future needs.”
Premium car manufacturer Volvo – which is owned by China’s Geely – will launch five fully electric cars across its range between 2019 and 2021.
Two of these new cars will be in the company’s Polestar high performance sub-brand, which is being revived.
The rest of the company’s range will be available with “plug-in hybrid” power trains and 48-volt “mild hybrid” systems, which give an extra “kick” to the acceleration of normally powered cars as well as operating as a sole power system. This means that customers will be able to specify an environmentally friendly option on all Volvo cars.
“This announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car,” said Mr Samuelsson. “We have said we plan to have sold a total of 1m electrified cars by 2025. When we said it we meant it. This is how we are going to do it.”
The landmark announcement sends a signal to the market and motorists that Volvo is embracing the electric revolution that is set to turn the automotive industry upside down.
“Customer demand was behind this but it also tells investors in infrastructure such as charging points and battery technology that we believe electric is the future and they can count on Volvo to back them,” Mr Samuelsson added.
Costs of developing the new cars and power trains will be included in the company’s current research and development plans, which run at between 5% and 6% of turnover – about £850m a year.
Historically Volvo has been at the forefront of new automotive technology in its 90-year life, with innovations such as the first three-point seat belts and other safety systems.
Volvo’s announcement comes in the same week that Tesla announced its low-cost Model 3 electric car will go sale.