By Jack Ewing
© The New York Times Co.
Volvo Cars one-upped larger rivals such as General Motors Co. and added momentum to the movement toward electric vehicles Tuesday by saying it would convert its entire lineup to battery power by 2030, no longer selling cars with internal combustion engines.
The declaration by the Swedish carmaker is the latest attempt by a traditional auto company to break with its fossil fuels past. It is also one of the most ambitious proposals and ratchets up the pressure on others to follow suit.
The auto industry has been moving toward electrification for years, but the shift has taken on new urgency in recent months. President Joe Biden’s election, along with his commitment to fight climate change, has raised expectations that the United States will offer the kind of incentives that helped make electric cars the fastest- growing segment of the European market last year.
GM said in January that it would go all-electric by 2035. Ford said last month it would sell only batterypowered cars in Europe starting in 2030, and the maker of Jaguar luxury cars made a similar promise.
“If you want to be in the game you have to transform fast,” said Håkan Samuelsson, CEO of Volvo. “Otherwise you get stuck in a shrinking segment.”
Volvo, owned by Geely Holding of China, has been ahead of larger rivals in converting to electric power. All the models it sells in Europe are either hybrids or run solely on batteries. But some of the Volvos are so-called mild hybrids, which have an electric motor that assists the gasoline engine but are not capable of running solely on battery power.
In another break from the practice of traditional carmakers, Volvo’s electric models will be sold exclusively online.