23/09/2017
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Sustainable Auto

July has brought us big news when it comes to the future of electric cars and the big stories came out of Europe from the Swedish car company Volvo, and the country of France.

France aims to end the sale of gasoline and diesel vehicles by 2040 and become carbon neutral 10 years later, Ecology Minister Nicolas Hulot said on Thursday, July 6, at a presentation of measures to keep up momentum on the Paris climate agreement.

Hulot presented an array of measures under six themes and 23 policy proposals, but most were short of specific details on how exactly the objectives would be achieved.

“One of the symbolic acts of the plan is that France, which previously had made the promise to divide its greenhouse gas emissions by four by 2050,

Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, Nicolas Hulot

has decided to become carbon neutral by 2050 following the U.S. decision to pull out of the Climate Accord of 2015,” Hulot said.

“The carbon neutral objective will force us to make the necessary investments,” he added.

Hulot said ending the use of fossil fuels was also central in the French objective to cut carbon emissions and become carbon neutral by 2050. Among the key policy proposals is the plan to end the delivery of hydrocarbon licenses in France, with legislation to that effect due later this year.

A day earlier, on Wednesday, July 5, out of Sweden, the auto manufacturer Volvo announced that every Volvo it launches from 2019 will have an electric motor, marking the historic end of cars that only have an internal combustion engine (ICE) and placing electrification at the core of its future business.

The announcement represents one of the most significant moves by any car maker to embrace electrification and highlights how over a century after the invention of the internal combustion engine electrification is paving the way for a new chapter in automotive history.

“This is about the customer,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president, and chief executive. “People increasingly demand electrified cars and we want to respond to our customers’ current and future needs. You can now pick and choose whichever electrified Volvo you wish.”

Håkan Samuelsson, President and CEO of Volvo

Volvo Cars will introduce a portfolio of electrified cars across its model range, embracing fully electric cars, plug in hybrid cars and mild hybrid cars.

It will launch five fully electric cars between 2019 and 2021, three of which will be Volvo models and two of which will be high performance electrified cars from Polestar, Volvo Cars’ performance car arm. Full details of these models will be announced at a later date.

These five cars will be supplemented by a range of petrol and diesel plug in hybrid and mild hybrid 48 volt options on all models, representing one of the broadest electrified car offerings of any car maker.

This means that there will in future be no Volvo cars without an electric motor, as pure ICE cars are gradually phased out and replaced by ICE cars that are enhanced with electrified options.

“This announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car,” said Mr. Samuelsson. “Volvo Cars has stated that it plans to have sold a total of 1m electrified cars by 2025. When we said it we meant it. This is how we are going to do it.”

The announcement underlines Volvo Cars’ commitment to minimizing its environmental impact and making the cities of the future cleaner. Volvo Cars is focused on reducing the carbon emissions of both its products as well as its operations. It aims to have climate neutral manufacturing operations by 2025.

The decision also follows this month’s announcement that Volvo Cars will turn Polestar into a new separately-branded electrified global high-performance car company. Thomas Ingenlath, Senior Vice President Design at Volvo Cars, will lead Polestar as Chief Executive Officer.

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