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Volvo goes electrified, ditches cars powered solely by gas, CTV News, Autos

Volvo goes electrified, ditches cars powered solely by gas

The Associated Press

Published Wednesday, July Five, two thousand seventeen Five:08AM EDT

Last Updated Wednesday, July Five, two thousand seventeen Three:00PM EDT

HELSINKI — Volvo says it will only build electrified and hybrid vehicles beginning in 2019, making it the very first major automaker to abandon cars and SUVs powered solely by the internal combustion engine

CEO Hakan Samuelsson said the budge was dictated by customer request. It means that in two years, all fresh Volvo vehicles will have some form of electrified propulsion.

The rest of the auto industry is likely to make similar moves in a few years, said Sam Abuelsamid, senior analyst for Navigant Research, with luxury automakers leading the way.

“I think we’ll very likely see most of the premium brands do the same thing in toughly the same time framework,” he said. “More high-volume mainstream brands will be a little slower.”

In order to meet government fuel economy requirements worldwide, automakers are developing more hybrid systems that use both gas engines and electrified motors. Many are 48-volt “mild hybrids” that assist a gas engine to stir a car to make it more efficient, improving gas mileage by ten or fifteen per cent, Abuelsamid said.

Such systems generate enough electro-therapy to permit automakers to stir functions such as air conditioners and water and oil pumps to electrical power, getting rid of mechanical belts that are a haul on the engine. Those systems can run only when needed, and that can save another two or three per cent on fuel consumption — so a vehicle that gets twenty mpg could get about another four miles per gallon he said.

European luxury brands such as Audi and Mercedes-Benz already are rolling out mild hybrid systems on cars in Europe. Those systems likely will be coming to the U.S. because it’s expensive for the companies to build different cars for different markets, Abuelsamid said. General Motors and others already have such systems as options on some models in the U.S.

Cars with mild hybrid systems also can accelerate better because both electrified and gas systems can be used at the same time when needed.

Fully electrical and hybrid vehicle sales have risen a little since two thousand twelve but still accounted for only Two.6 million, or about three per cent of worldwide fresh vehicle sales, last year. Navigant predicts that will increase to around Trio.7 million in two thousand eighteen and to more than nine million by 2025. That’s about nine per cent of sales.

Volvo, which is based in Sweden but wielded by Chinese rock hard Geely, will launch five fully electrified cars inbetween two thousand nineteen and 2021. Three of them will be Volvo models and two will be electrified cars from Polestar, Volvo Cars’ spectacle car arm. It also plans to suggest a range of hybrids as options on all models.

Volvo expects to reach its target of selling one million electrified cars by 2025, with a range of models, including fully electrified vehicles and hybrid cars.

The company said its long range models could travel five hundred kilometres (310 miles) on a single charge using current technology, but it is looking for suppliers for fresh and better batteries.

Samuelsson, who acknowledged that the company had been skeptical about electrification only two years ago, said circumstances have switched. “Things have moved swifter; customer request is enhancing. This is an attractive car people want to have,” he said.

He’s hoping Volvo’s announcement will encourage suppliers to invest in battery manufacturing and electric-car chargers.

Last year, Volvo sold 534,332 cars in one hundred countries, up more than six per cent from 2015.

Auto Writer Tom Krisher contributed to this report from Detroit.

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