LONDON, March 2 (Reuters) - Volvo’s entire car lineup will be fully electric by 2030, the Chinese-owned company said on Tuesday, joining a growing number of automakers planning to phase out fossil-fuel engines by the end of this decade.
"I am totally convinced there will be no customers who really want to stay with a petrol engine," Volvo Chief Executive Håkan Samuelsson told reporters when asked about future demand for electric vehicles. "We are convinced that an electric car is more attractive for customers."
The Swedish-based carmaker said 50% of its global sales should be fully-electric cars by 2025 and the other half hybrid models.
Owned by Hangzhou-based Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (GEELY.UL), Volvo will launch a new family of electric cars in the next few years, all of which will be sold online only.
On Tuesday it unveiled the first of those models, the C40, a fully electric SUV, which will have an initial battery range of around 420 kilometres (261 miles).
Volvo will include wireless upgrades and fixes for its new electric models - an approach originally pioneered by electric carmaker Tesla Inc (TSLA.O). This means the C40's range will be extended over time with software upgrades, Chief Technology Officer Henrik Green said.
Carmakers are racing to switch to zero-emission models as they face CO2 emissions targets in Europe and China, plus looming bans in some countries on fossil fuel vehicles.
Last month, Ford Motor Co (F.N) said its lineup in Europe will be fully electric by 2030, while Tata Motors (TAMO.NS) unit Jaguar Land Rover said its luxury Jaguar brand will be entirely electric by 2025 and the carmaker will launch electric models of its entire line-up by 2030. read more
In November, luxury carmaker Bentley, owned by Germany's Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE), said its models would be all electric by 2030.
Electrification is expensive for carmakers and as electric vehicles have fewer moving parts, employment in the car industry is expected to shrink. read more
Volvo CEO Samuelsson said that industry-wide, electrification will mostly affect engine plants and auto suppliers providing everything from oil filters to fuel injectors and spark plugs.
"Those are a lot of jobs of course," he said. "But overall I don't think there will be a big difference."
Volvo said it will "radically reduce" the complexity of its model line-up and provide customers with transparent pricing.
The carmaker's global network of 2,400 traditional bricks-and-mortar dealers will remain open to service vehicles and to help customers make online orders.
So far Volvo has not been affected by a pandemic-fueled global semiconductor chip shortage that has temporarily shut a number of assembly plants, which Samuelsson said was thanks to constant communication with suppliers.
"So far, knock on wood, we have not had to stop any assembly line," he said. "But it could happen any day."
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