Volvo is making the bold call of becoming an electric-only brand in Australia by 2026, well ahead of Volvo Cars’ global plans to go electric-only by 2030.
Speaking with the media in Adelaide last week at the local launch of the C40 Recharge – the brand’s first electric-only model, and just its second EV following the XC40 Recharge – Volvo Cars Australia managing director Stephen Connor stated that the brand’s local management team was keen to take the lead in a world so conscious of climate change.
“We’re going to be a fully-electric company by 2030, that’s our global stated aim, but on a local level we don’t always have to follow the global strategy,” said Connor.
“I think personally that in 2030, the battery electric space will be absolutely saturated. I think there’ll be lots of brands that are scrambling to get there, and if we wait until that point we’ll have lost our point of difference, so we’ve decided as a management team that we are going to go fully electric by 2026.”
“People hear ‘2030’, but we heard ‘by 2030′,” added Greg Bosnich, director of corporate and PR for Volvo Cars Australia. “We’ve always been a pioneer, and I think people will understand that. We forge our own future. We don’t wait for incentives; we don’t wait for schemes.”
Bosnich also cited the brand taking the lead in inventing the three-point seatbelt in 1959 and the three-way catalytic converter with a Lambda sensor in 1976 and being transparent and open in sharing these universally important technologies with all other carmakers as a reminder of the Swedish brand’s longstanding position as a pioneer.
In opting for an EV-only lineup, Connor noted that “it’s not for everybody – I’m not trying to force everybody to buy pure-electric cars – and that will upset some of our customers, but we’re true to our form and that’s what we want to do.
“We know we’ve been part of the problem, [as a car company] we’ve created the problem, but we want to be part of the solution, so we’re really excited about that, and we’re really excited that we’re bringing the timeline forward and that we’re going to be able to make it make a difference in this world – albeit a small difference.”
Volvo Cars Australia is also committed to meeting the brand’s target of being climate neutral by 2040, and notes that it will ensure its partners, retailers, and suppliers are also climate neutral by that point. Already, a claimed 95 percent of Volvo’s steel production is handled using climate neutral power.
The company is also employing blockchain technology to ensure the cobalt used in its battery packs is sourced sustainably. In a 2019 statement, the company noted that the “traceability of raw materials used in the production of lithium ion batteries, such as cobalt, is one of the main sustainability challenges faced by car makers,” and that using blockchain technology “establishes a transparent and reliable shared data network [that] significantly boosts transparency of the raw material supply chain as the information about the material’s origin cannot be changed undetected.”
Volvo’s commitment to transparency surrounding its environmental performance has also seen it publish reports regarding the carbon footprint of its internal combustion engine-powered and electric-powered models.
The brand’s next electric model, the all-new EX90 seven-seat SUV, will be revealed on November 9.