Volvo’s electrification plans will see all of its cars fully electric and all will bypass dealer networks to be sold exclusively online.
The plan was revealed during introduction of the automaker’s first Volvo-branded BEV, the C40, which will be officially unveiled to the public later this year at simultaneous events in Tokyo, Milan and New York.
Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson announces a timeline for the automaker’s shift to all-electric vehicle production, promising half of its products will be BEVs by 2025 and 100% by 2030. No timeline is given for plans to place all orders online, however, raising the question of whether Volvo will adopt a wait-and-see approach to gauging consumer demand for an exclusively digital buying experience.
Samuelsson (below, left) says: “The future customer offer cannot just (consist) of an electric car. We need to listen to our consumers, and they expect transparency and a seamless experience when getting and having a car. That is why all pure-electric cars from Volvo will be available only online at preset prices – you can subscribe or buy.”
Volvo’s strategy also will see a shift away from the vehicle personalization model that many automakers have been offering to consumers looking for a variety of color and trim choices. Samuelsson explains: “(The vehicles) will come with a special customer care package. They will all come equipped with specially developed Recharge tires for all-year safety and convenience, and they will come in special preselected configuration for fast delivery.
“We hope this will provide people the freedom to move in a personal and sustainable, safe way.”
However, in a later address, Lex Kerssemakers, head of global commercial operations, suggests more personalization will be offered as an option presumably for consumers in less of a hurry to acquire a vehicle. He says ordering online can be done from home, a pop-up store or a dedicated Volvo owned store.
“The XC40 Recharge and all future pure-electric cars will be available with an extensive care package…which includes insurance, maintenance, warranty and, where possible, home charging stations,” Kerssemakers says.
While Volvo reveals silhouettes of the new C40, the only new technological details highlighted are that it comes with range of 260 miles (419 km), pixel headlights and a 78-kWh battery pack. The C40 also is expected to fast charge to 80% in about 40 minutes and will be capable of more thorough over-the-air software updates.
Volvo affiliate Polestar, which makes two battery-electric models influenced by Volvo designs, earlier announced plans to add 15 new U.S. showrooms where customers can take test drives and place purchase orders online.