Volvo is on a mission globally to go all-electric and completely carbon neutral within the next two decades, but the Australian division has taken that mission one step further, by accelerating the end of its combustion engines, and going all-electric as early as possible – by 2026.
Speaking at the launch of Volvo’s first electric-only model, the C40 Recharge, Volvo Car Australia managing director Stephen Connor said it was “the right thing to do”.
“We don’t have to wait for global. We want to accelerate these plans locally. We see an opportunity in our marketplace, and we think our consumers are ready,” he said.
“If you look at the electric space, the market will be very crowded by 2030 – if we wait until then we will lose [electric] market share to our competitors.
“Our aim is to be the first brand in Australia which has fully converted from a combustion automaker to fully electric.
To achieve these goals, Mr Connor said Volvo would be launching five new fully electric models from now until 2026. The C40 was the first all-electric model, but it will be followed shortly by the XC90’s replacement, the EX90.
“There won’t be gaps in our lineup,” Mr Connor continued. “We will focus on our core models, but there will be new models which will be all electric. If these models were available today, we would do it today. Our consumers are ready for the technology.
“XC60 will be the last car in our range to be fully electrified simply because it was the last car to be updated.”
Volvo currently sells two fully electric models, the XC40 Recharge, and just-arrived C40 Recharge. It also has plug-in hybrid versions of the XC90 and XC60, while the S60 sedan and V70 wagon exist only as mild-hybrids.
When asked about ongoing supply issues plaguing not just Volvo, but other automakers around the world, Mr Connor was confident the brand would “have sufficient supply” of its all-electric models in the next few years.
He said the brand was confident it would achieve 20,000 annual sales in Australia by that point, almost doubling its current annual volume. Volvo is on track to sell 12,500 units this year, but it could have sold up to 14,500 had it not been hit with the same supply issues affecting the industry, according to the brand.
It’s not just five new all-electric models Volvo’s Australian division will be relying on for its strategy either. It will support its buyers with infrastructure too.
“Next year, we will be making sure that every retailer [Volvo dealer] in our network has a fast charger, which will be free to use for our customers. There will be free coffee and tea, and our plan is for these locations to be 24/7,” Mr Connor said.
While Volvo’s local plans seem aggressive, it is honest about the appeal of a premium all-electric brand.
“We don’t want to appease 100 per cent of the market” said Mr Connor. “We’re small and agile, we want to be a big fish in a small pond. We predict by 2026, 20 per cent of the Australian market will be purely electric.”
The C40 is Volvo’s first ever model to only be offered with an electric drivetrain. It arrives with a simple two variant range, a Single Motor (from $74,990 before on-road costs), offering 434km of driving range and a 170kW/330Nm motor on the front axle, or a Dual Motor (from $82,490 before on-road costs) offering 420km of range, but able to make use of 300kW/660Nm from a motor on each axle.