Today, Volvo Chief Executive Officer Hakan Samuelsson said that the current generation of diesel engines will be the automaker’s last and that they will instead focus on electric vehicles.
And he also gave credit to Tesla for launching demand for electric vehicles, which actually plays right into the automaker’s mission.
The Swedish automaker is aggressively pushing for its first long-range electric car to start between $35,000 and $40,000 in 2019 and it confirmed that they plan to build it in China and export it globally.
This vehicle will be built on Volvo’s new Modular Electrification Platform (MEP), which will apparently become the company’s focus as development efforts shift from diesel engines.
In an interview with German’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (via Reuters) today, Samuelsson confirmed that today’s market shows no reason to continue investing in diesel:
“From today’s perspective, we will not develop any more new generation diesel engines,”
He added that they will instead focus on all-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids:
“We have to recognise that Tesla has managed to offer such a car for which people are lining up. In this area, there should also be space for us, with high quality and attractive design,”
The CEO noted that Europe’s regulations are pushing them to be more aggressive in the development of more efficient engines. He added that diesel and gas will still be important in the coming years, but electric propulsion will be required after 2020.
Samuelsson hinted that they could stop production of diesel engines, which represents about 50% of the market in Europe, altogether after 2023.
These are more aggressive timelines than previously stated by the automaker, which had only announced a goal to accumulate a global fleet of “up to 1 million electrified cars by 2025 globally”.
Again, Volvo’s first all-electric vehicle will hit the market in 2019. The company confirmed that they are aiming for a range of “at least 250 miles”. We still don’t know in what segment it will be, but it is expected to be based one of the two new concepts Volvo unveiled last year – SUV pictured above and a sedan.