If you grew up long enough ago to remember when Volvo’s product lineup was anchored by the venerable 122, known affectionately as the Amazon, you appreciate that the nameplate’s reputation in this country was forged via a message of staid-but-competent conservatism, The flip side of all this is that the Amazon was denuded a long time ago, Volvo isn’t a Swedish automaker any longer and in the world as a whole, societies are trying to keep the ozone layer from being fried into nothingness, with calamitous consequences. For all these reasons and more, Volvo, now a holding of the Geely automotive conglomerate in China, confirmed what’s been rumored for months: It will abandon the production of all cars using internal combustion engines – including hybrids – by 2030.
Auto manufacturers tend to view the process of going non-ICE as an effort to meaningfully reduce the firms’ life-cycle carbon footprint per individual vehicle. We have essentially reached the point where it’s no longer economically feasible for some automakers, especially those with non-Big Three sales volumes such as Volvo, to produce and federally certify gasoline-fueled powertrains that a diminishing number of customers are interested in buying in the first place. With doleful apologies to the naysayers, this is a textbook case of market forces driving management decision-making. It’s a big part of why Volvo introduced the above-depicted vehicle, the XC40 Recharge, in global markets late last year as its initial fully electric offering. Volvo’s plan envisions that by 2025, half of its global production will be fully electric, with the remainder hybrids. That means Volvo’s departure from pure ICE power is imminent, a reality that may be wistful for anybody who’s ever felt an overhead-valve B18B shake its way out of slumber.