How Volvo could be electric-only by 2030

Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson envisions the Swedish automaker becoming an electric-only brand within the next 10 years.

“I would be surprised if we wouldn’t deliver only electric cars from 2030,” Samuelsson told the Financial Times Future of the Car Summit on Wednesday.

Volvo has previously stated that it wants half of its global sales to be full-electric models by 2025, but it had not set a deadline for when it would stop making vehicles with combustion engines.

This year Volvo wants 20 percent of its global sales to be electrified models, but the majority of them will be plug-in hybrids because it is still completing the launch its first full-electric car, XC40 Recharge P8.

Bentley has also said it will be electric only by 2030.

Samuelsson also told the summit that firm deadlines for the end of combustion engine sales will do more to get people to switch to full-electric powertrains than offering cash incentives.

“The way forward would be to have clear rules on when we need to exit the combustion engine,” Samuelsson said. “Once you have realized that the petrol and diesel engine are really not part of the future, it’s rather easy to see you have to move fast into the new world.”

He said Volvo has already come to this realization, therefore he is more at ease when countries such as the UK, set an end date for the sale of cars with fuel-burning engines.

“Volvo will be very careful and deliver only electric engines before anybody has legal requirements for this,” the CEO said.

He added that having “old fashioned clear rules” is why today’s vehicles are equipped with seat belts, airbags and antilock brakes. “That was implemented rather fast,” he said “and that was not done with any type of incentives or credit points.”

Geely merger

Samuelsson also said talks on a merger or alliance between Volvo and sister company Geely are likely to resume next year.

Efforts by Geely to seek a listing on Shanghai’s New Star Market currently prohibit the Chinese carmaker from making changes to its capital structure, delaying the talks into 2021, Samuelsson said.

“Quarter one is more realistic next year. We have said we are looking at a combination and it could be done in different ways. Platform sharing and so on,” Samuelsson said.

Any effort to combine would be done with the aim of preserving the identities of each company and Volvo wants to continue to be able to tap markets to raise funds for investments in low-emission vehicles.

“Volvo is of course very proud..and Geely is very proud of their brand and they of course also don’t want to be part of a more European constellation. It is an opportunity to form some sort of an alliance,” Samuelsson said.

Geely has access to a lot of very efficient suppliers in China and there is potential to do more together with them, Samuelsson said. “Let’s see what is the best way forward.”

Separately, Volvo said it has sold environmental credits to Ford Europe, as both companies face stringent fleet emissions rules this year.

“We will use the money to accelerate electrification,” Samuelsson said about the sale.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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