European consumers set to move prior to 2035 – Volvo

Sino-Swedish OEM expects impact of mid-decade ICE sales ban to be felt years in advance

European consumers set to move prior to 2035 – Volvo
Volvo chief Rowan is expecting a change in European buying preferences well before the end of 2034

The EU might have set a 2035 deadline after which its car buyers cannot choose a new ICE vehicle. But Jim Rowan, CEO of Gothenburg-headquartered automaker Volvo Cars, expects that the legislation will be influencing consumer choices in the bloc well before that cut-off.

A new car “is a big purchase for people, quite often the second biggest purchase after their home”, Rowan says.

“They will not make the decision whether they buy a BEV or whether they buy an ICE car on 31 December, 2034. They will make that decision much, much sooner.”

Volvo has set targets of 50pc of its global sales being all-electric by 2025, progressing to 100pc by 2030. So it has skin in the game in terms of painting a picture of mass BEV adoption well before 2035.

But Rowan is adamant that — rather than simply constructing a narrative that tallies with his firm’s strategy — there are tangible drivers that will see switching well ahead of the EU’s deadline, not least that “in the next four, five, six years, you are going to see infrastructure massively improve”.

Battery innovation is, in Rowan’s view, another key plank in accelerating adoption. “You are going to start to see energy density within batteries improve; you are going to see research driving down cost of batteries; you are going to see more competition in the battery space”, he predicts.

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More widely, Rowan sees R&D budgets no longer going into ICE products. Instead, “the innovation, the investment, the engineering, the development, the research” is all being focused on the BEV space, meaning “you are going to see new investments and new innovation” concentrated on all-electric vehicles.

“When you add all of that together, I think you then start to see a really clear path towards a fully electric future in that time span of 2030,” Rowan forecasts.

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