Volvo has announced that as of 2030 it will only sell fully electric (not hybrid) vehicles, in a move that puts another nail in the fossil fuel coffin. The Swedish brand follows other high-end vehicle makers like Bentley, which will also stop making internal combustion engines also by 2030, and Jaguar Land Rover, which has set itself the target of 2025 to do the same.
Other brands with a broader market, such as GM, are also betting on a rapid transition to electric (unlike Ford, which believes it will be a slow one), setting its goal for 2035. Volkswagen, which has said it “needs to move faster on electric vehicles to avoid Nokia’s fate”, has made significant progress with its roadmap after launching the ID range, which is predicted by some to have the same impact as the legendary Beetle, but have failed to keep the promise of making electric vehicles “as good as Tesla’s for half the price by 2020”. To all intents and purposes, Elon Musk’s company is still some six years ahead.
The ever-faster race to electrification will see winners and losers. For the moment, it’s clear that the higher-margin brands are having an easier time making the transition, which means they can consider moving away from internal combustion more radically, while the more mass-market companies still largely see electrification as a balance sheet issue, offsetting emissions from the rest of their fleet to try to comply with ever-stricter regulations. But the fact of the matter is that the race is on, and the last to leave the grid will likely be left behind forever.
We are arguably facing the most important technological transition in the history of mankind. Abandoning fossil fuels is so important for everyone that we should value any commitment to accelerate it: 2025 is better than 2030, and better than 2035. The idiots who said electric vehicles were dirtier, that our electricity infrastructure wouldn’t be able to cope with demand have largely fallen silent. It’s the same with all technological transitions. The simple truth now is that if you don’t like electric vehicles… buy a horse.
(En español, aquí)