Volvo, in the face of competition from electric-vehicle makers such as Tesla, General Motors and Nissan, plans to go fully electric or plug-in hybrid, phasing out vehicles powered solely by the internal combustion engine.
The longtime Swedish automaker, now Chinese-owned, is the first major automaker that plans to transition from the standard powertrain that has propelled the industry for more than 100 years. Volvo intends to sell 1 million EVs and hybrids by 2025.
Here's what analysts and others are saying about the automaker's move toward electric-battery powered cars:
"Volvo took advantage of a slow news day to release that tweet.
You really have to look at how it is worded. They will still offer gas engines but they will be mated to an electric motor ... creating a familiar hybrid powertrain. Volvo already has plug-in hybrid powertrains available today.
With diesel falling out of favor in Europe and Volvo's Chinese owners looking at the future of the car in their home market, electrification is the easiest way forward. The one thing a hybrid engine can do is help to satisfy many requirements across different regulatory bodies ... including China, U.S. and the E.U. when it comes to emissions.
They also said that this applies to models introduced from 2019 and onward. So, it's not as if they are killing off offering gas engines in 2019 ... they will still exist for the models that are already on sale."
-- Dave Sullivan, product analyst, AutoPacific
"The headline is certainly eye-catching, but it's a bit extreme to say this is the end of the ICE. It may be the end of exclusively ICE-powered vehicles for Volvo, but not the industry overall, as demand for pure EVs is still extremely low on a global basis. Regulations and self-driving vehicle development may be pushing companies to go electric, but great numbers of consumers are not yet on board with either movement."
-- Rebecca Lindland, executive analyst, Kelley Blue Book
"By 2020, traditional carmakers are set to have a wide array of electric cars on offer, with ranges of about 500 km.
I think that it's going to be pretty tough for Tesla to keep a position in this space.
The empire is going to strike back."
-- Michael Muders, portfolio manager, Union Investment
"It's indicative of the speeding up of the shift over to electrics, particularly in the wake of the VW Dieselgate scandal, and it's a sign that the industry is really starting to move and it will become mainstream.
By the mid-2020s, I expect there to be a tipping point where the electric car starts to outcompete the internal combustion engine. It's the way it's going."
--David Bailey, an automotive expert at Aston University
"Volvo's plan should not be confused with a short-term transition to total electrification, but with the total sales volumes anticipated by the brand, cadence of new model introductions over this time frame, plus existing models with electrification options, the automaker seems well on course for selling 1 million electrified vehicles by 2025."
-- Ian Fletcher, analyst, IHS Markit
"Chinese ownership of Sweden-based Volvo likely played a role in the automaker's announcement today. China's air pollution problems have prompted a more serious push towards cleaner automobiles. European markets need to find a replacement for diesel engines as well. Can this commitment spell success in the U.S. though? Buyers in the U.S. say they have interest in electric vehicles but largely buy sport utilities with gasoline engines. The major challenge for automakers in the future will be figuring out how to generate consumer demand for the electric and hybrid vehicles required by government regulations."
-- Michelle Krebs, executive analyst, Autotrader
"All major automakers are preparing for a shift to electric vehicles, but the challenge for the industry is to get the timing right because of the industry's typically long product cycles that involve years of research and development before a vehicle rolls off the assembly line. Auto executives talk about an impending 'tipping point' when the costs of some electric car models are expected to fall below the cost of the conventional version of the same vehicle type. When that happens, industry executives and analysts say momentum could shift quickly in favor of electric cars."
-- The Wall Street Journal
"If any automaker can manage the move to all-electric, it's Volvo. The size of the company, number of platforms and price point of their cars means they can do this more effectively than almost anyone else. EVs are becoming more mainstream, the timing couldn't be better."
-- Brian Moody, executive editor, Autotrader
"This is a bold move, but it is not as bold as it sounds at first blush, because hybrid vehicles use internal combustion engines for a substantial portion of the time they are in operation. Making hybrid powertrains available on all Volvos has been one of the company's keynote strategy for several years now."
-- Jack Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst, Kelley Blue Book.
"We expect that the decision is also largely driven by CO2 regulations."
-- Arndt Ellinghorst, analyst, Evercore ISI
"The decision is the boldest commitment by any major car company to technologies that currently represent a small share of the total vehicle market, but that are increasingly viewed as essential to combating climate change and urban pollution.
While most major automakers offer hybrids and battery-powered options, none of them have been willing to forsake cars powered solely by gasoline or diesel fuel. On the contrary, United States automakers have continued to churn out S.U.V.s and pickup trucks, whose sales have surged because of relatively low fuel prices.
Yet Volvo's move may be the latest sign that the era of the gas guzzler is slowly coming to an end."
-- The New York Times
"Volvo has always been an innovator, and this is a massive change in terms of operating a business. There have been challenges making electric vehicles mainstream, including range and space efficiency for batteries. Additionally, profitability for some EVs has been hit or miss. If Volvo can solve some of these problems and prove to the mass consumer in the U.S. market that EVs are the way of the future, this move can be successful for them."
-- Akshay Anand, executive analyst, Kelley Blue Book
"It is not something that moves the goalposts hugely. Cars launched before that date [of 2019] will still have traditional combustion engines. The announcement is significant, and quite impressive, but only in a small way."
-- Tim Urquhart, principal analyst, IHS Automotive
Jacqueline Charniga contributed to this report.