DETROIT (WWJ) – Volvo Cars is making a big bet on electrified vehicles.

The Swedish automaker, which describes the decision as “one of the most significant moves by any car maker,” has announced that after 2019 all new Volvo models will be either hybrids or fully electric vehicles.

The company’s CEO Hakan Samuelsson says the policy reflects the wishes of customers.

New fuel economy rules are also a reason, said Navigant Research Senior Analyst Sam Abuelsamid, and the caché of electrified vehicles is another.

But Abuelsamid says Volvo is not yet ready to become a Swedish Tesla.

“They’re not abandoning the internal combustion engine entirely just yet,” he told WWJ AutoBeat Reporter Jeff Gilbert. “Most of their vehicles will probably still have ICEs for years to come.”

Abuelsamid said Volvo, while not alone in this, may be looked at as a trendsetter.

“With the fuel economy standards and greenhouse gas emission standards it’s going to be increasingly difficult to meet those requirements, especially in Europe where manufactures has relied heavily on diesel,” he said.  “I would expect over the next couple of years we’re likely to see similar announcements from most of the premium brands, like BMW and Audi.”

Although at this time Volvo is planning five pure electric vehicles, Abuelsamid points out that many of the Volvo hybrids will be 40 volt systems. This will add electrification to promote fuel economy at a relatively low cost.


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