What Volvo’s Announcement Means to Us

March 6, 2021 7:02 pm

Recently, Volvo made a stunning announcement: it has committed to selling only battery-powered EVs by 2030. Not just in Europe, mind you. Everywhere. The news comes on the heels of recent automaker reports showing a surge in worldwide EV sales and the official unveiling of Volvo’s second BEV this past Tuesday – the C40 Recharge crossover coupe. (The XC40 introduced in 2018 was the first.) See more details in the article here: https://www.newsmax.com/Finance/streettalk/volvo-electric-vehicles-ev-online/2021/03/02/id/1012158/

2018 Volvo XC40
Photo Courtesy of Vauxford

Why are we so excited by this? After all, Volvo’s just one manufacturer, right? Well, for several reasons. First, Volvo has been an innovator in the automotive space since it introduced the three-point seatbelt in 1959, and more recently blind spot warning, pedestrian detection and rollover protection systems that have been appropriated by rivals. It’s therefore likely that other manufacturers of ICE vehicles will follow suit as EV demand continues to drive supply. (And profits.) Of course, this means more charging installations will be required, particularly in places like schools, parks, restaurants, daycares and other family-centered locations that play to Volvo’s customer base.

In addition, Volvo notes that the C40 Recharge will sell only online, while the company’s head of commercial operations said he expects half of all vehicle sales to be online by 2025 in furtherance of their progressive agenda. This affords other forward-thinking companies the opportunity to create complementary web-based services to help Volvo in its pursuits. For instance, the new EVCS subscription plan could be coupled with online vehicle sales as a discounted add-on.

All of this signals a larger trend in the growing embrace of EVs by the general public – one that Volvo executives are confident enough to get behind with large sums of investment dollars. In fact, the company recently announced it would sink approximately 5% of annual revenues into EV R&D, an amount equaled to about $1.5 billion USD. One can imagine that the amounts spent on marketing and advertising will likewise be ambitious. As both awareness and vehicle options grow, so will sales.

Such marketplace expansion reminds us of Wright’s Law, which essentially states that the cumulative doubling of a technological innovation will result in increased production volume that reduces costs. (For those not familiar with this axiom, read more about it here: https://ark-invest.com/articles/analyst-research/wrights-law-2/) EV technology is no exception. And the fact that new EV sales topped 2.2 million in 2019, according to the IEA, as EV manufacturing costs saw a 28% drop is no coincidence.

Riffing off the Volvo announcement then, a potential 20-fold increase in the number of Volvo EVs on the road is going to significantly reduce the overall cost of subsequent models, making them even more accessible to lower income drivers and thereby further increasing overall EV adoption. Preparedness will be key. A big new wave of EVs will require far more charging sites and will increase the appetite for government incentives. As we see the sector scale, the lower price of EVs themselves will be coupled with other cost reductions resulting from more abundant charging stations, V2G technology and various dynamic charging innovations.

Volvo competitors eager to “keep up with the Joneses” have already started introducing new EV models, from the Hyundai Kona EV and Mustang Mach-E to the Audi Q4 e-Tron and BMW iX3, demonstrating that the “EV-olution” is already underway. The question is who will create the necessary support structure. EVCS is already taking the lead on generating modernized charging infrastructure throughout California, with other states soon to follow; our goal is to make sure the country is ready for the anticipated deluge of BEVs that will be hitting the road in the next decade and beyond.

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