Volvo is set to become the first mainstream automaker to begin making the transition from traditional internal combustion engines to electric motors, saying that all new Volvo models it introduces will be powered partially or solely by batteries starting in 2019.
While most car companies manufacture some sort of hybrid or electric car, this commitment represents the first major promise by such a company to forsake cars powered by gasoline, which are seen as a major contributor to climate change.
“Our customers are asking more and more about electric cars,” Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson told The New York Times. And while such a strategy definitely comes with risk, Samuelsson said that not making such a commitment would be a "much bigger risk would be to stick with internal combustion engines.”
Cars that run solely on electricity and make use of batteries are still pretty rare in most countries, and charging stations are few and far between, which is an issue given that lengthy changing times reduce travel ranges. Still, as the technology improves, most automakers are expecting electric vehicles to make up a larger and larger portion of the market.
Other American car makers may also be making moves towards electric. Daimler, which makes Mercedes-Benz said tat it would be investing $735 million in a new battery factory. General Motors just introduced the Chevrolet Bolt, which is a battery-powered model that retails for around $35,000.