In a surprising step sure to be followed by others, BBC Business reports that Chinese-owned Volvo “ has become the first traditional carmaker to signal the end of the internal combustion engine.” All new models from 2019 and 2021 will be fully electric or hybrid, with only earlier models having combustion engines. “Geely, Volvo’s Chinese owner, has been quietly pushing ahead with electric car development for more than a decade. It now aims to sell one million electric cars by 2025.”
“This announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car,” said Hakan Samuelsson, chief executive of Volvo’s carmaking division.
“People increasingly demand electrified cars, and we want to respond to our customers’ current and future needs.”
Don’t be surprised to see more of the automobile industry following Volvo’s example as emission regulation gets tighter and performance gets better in electric cars. There are already examples of “hybridization” retrofitting electric motors to conventional combustion engine cars. While Volvo may be the first to change their engines, they won’t be the last. Even Tesla, which “makes no profits, now has a stock market value of $58bn, nearly one-quarter higher than that of Ford, one of the Detroit giants that has dominated the automotive scene for more than a century.” The tipping point has arrived.