Many global car manufacturing brands have made the commitment to switch to electric vehicles by 2030. This commitment to zero emissions by 2030 highlights the eagerness of car manufacturing brands to do their part in fighting climate change.
Volvo Group is one of the car-manufacturing brands that has made that 2030 commitment. But in a recent announcement, Volvo Australia has decided to step it up a notch, by vowing to sell EVs only in Australia by 2026, well ahead of the car brand’s global commitment to do this by 2030.
During the recent official launch of the new C40 Recharge in Australia, which is Volvo’s first electric-only SUV, the managing director Stephen Connor announced the new commitment to produce and sell only all-electric vehicles by 2026 in Australia. The new C40 Recharge SUV adds to the Volvos XC40 that is already on the market and the EX90 that is soon to be revealed.
Connor says the decision has been taken because there is no long-term future in cars with internal combustion engines. And despite Australia’s relatively slow take-up of EVs to date, it senses its customers are ready to make the switch.
“The earlier deadline will allow us to meet the expectations of our Australian customers and be part of the solution when it comes to fighting climate change,” Connor said. “Sustainability is as important as safety to us, with climate action having the highest priority.
Electric Vehicle Council chief executive Behyad Jafari said it is a “truly remarkable announcement” from Volvo. “It shows they appreciate the momentum for EVs building in the Australian market and they see the opportunities in meeting the demand,” Jafari said.
“Most Australians now want an electric car — the problem is a lack of supply and a lack of choice. Having Volvo plug part of this gap will make a significant difference.”
“This is a milestone and proves that we are leading the transformation of the industry. It’s less than two years ago since we showcased our heavy electric trucks for the very first time. Now we are ramping up volumes and will deliver these great trucks to customers all over Europe, and later on also to customers in Asia, Australia, and Latin America,” says Roger Alm, President of Volvo Trucks.
Volvo’s 2026 target is not the only commitment Volvo has made in terms of an overall zero emissions strategy. It has committed to being a fully climate-neutral company by 2040, including reducing overall vehicle CO2 lifecycle emissions by 40% by 2025.
One area Volvo is working on to make the company climate-friendly is its manufacturing plants. At the moment, its manufacturing plants are running on 80% hydroelectric energy — and in 2021 its Torslanda (Sweden) car plant became its first “climate-neutral” one.
According to sales reports for September 2022 in Europe, European sales of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) reached 24% of all new car sales, with full-battery EVs (BEVs) making up two-thirds of these, while the other third of sales were from plug-in hybrids (PHEVs). The European market sold nearly a quarter of a million new PEVs in the month of September. That market size and the percentage would be an enviable one to be selling EVs into, especially as EV numbers grow and ICE car sales diminish.
PEV sales in Australia have not reached the level of sales that Europe is experiencing, with PEV sales only accounting for only 3.7 to 4% of annual light vehicle sales for 2022. That’s around 40,000 PEVs sold in total for 2022 in Australia. So Volvo and other car companies have a challenging market in Australia to adapt to the PEV market for EVs to be hitting our roads in significant numbers.
The current goal of Volvo Australia is to sell 20,000 fully electric cars a year, giving it a bigger share of the EV market than it does in the current overall passenger car market. Volvo Australia is expecting EVs to account for 80% of its annual sales by 2025, while Connor noted that the hardest part for them in Australia is to convince the last 20%.
“The decision to sell only electric cars from 2026 makes perfect sense, and we believe it will give us a strategic advantage in the Australian market,” he said. “the final piece of the jigsaw will be converting the last 20 percent of our customers to a fully electric future from 2026.”
Volvo Australia, as part of its after-sales customer service program, has also committed to installing DC charging of at least 75kW in all Volvo dealers, which includes free charging and perhaps a free coffee while you wait for your EV to charge for free!
Volvo Australia has set the stage for other car manufacturing companies to adopt the zero-emission strategy and remove carbon emissions in their manufacturing facilities and process earlier than scheduled. The bold move puts Volvo Australia and Volvo Group as the leader in manufacturing and selling electric vehicles that significantly reduce their climate-damaging effects.
It will be interesting to see if the other vehicle manufacturers start to feel compelled to move up their 2030 targets for a sustainable future as well. With the growing “climate awareness purchasing” decision factor of the buying public, there should be more car brands following suit.
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