Volvo Cars CEO Hakan Samuelsson has set ambitious goals for the Swedish automaker. He wants half of Volvo's global sales to come from full-electric cars by 2025 and the other half to be hybrids. He also wants the company to become climate-neutral by 2040, and to get there, it must slash its life cycle carbon footprint by 40 percent per car by the middle of the next decade.
He explained how Volvo aims to achieve these goals in an interview in October with Automotive News Europe Managing Editor Douglas A. Bolduc and Automotive News Staff Reporter Urvaksh Karkaria. Here are edited excerpts.
Q: The U.S. market for EVs seems to be a bit sketchy. Do you have any real confidence in U.S. EV sales?
A: Yes, we do. This is part of the beauty of Volvo. We will not stop making conventional cars. We will have both in parallel. Of course, it would be a bigger bet if you would stop production of conventional cars and rely on a big uptake for EVs. On the other hand, every EV we will sell is an additional car to our overall volume. We are quite confident that EVs will contribute to our U.S. growth.
When will Volvo's U.S. plant start producing a battery-electric vehicle?
In 2022. It will be on the SPA2 architecture.
How long will it take for EVs to account for 10 percent of your global sales?
We should get close to that in about two years, assuming that the market will continue to grow.
What about plug-in hybrids?
We feel the same about our plug-in hybrids, which will now be part of the Recharge line. That's not just an alternative to a conventional car. It's something more, so it should bring us growth. We are quite confident it will. But we have to do a better job marketing it. We have to be better at communicating what the advantages are with plugging in. And that's why we decided to give these cars their own name.