At a recent Financial Times digital conference, Håkan Samuelsson, the CEO of Volvo, went above and beyond while singing the praises of electrification’s future. Samuelsson, who has been in charge of Volvo since 2012, says that he believes the Covid pandemic will lead to a drastic increase in the sales, and subscriptions, of electric vehicles.
These are of great interest to Volvo, who’s Polestar brand has been spearheading the company’s experiments with EV cars, subscription sales platforms, and assisted driving features. Samuelsson touched on all of these points during his talk.
I think it would be naive to believe after some months, everything will return to normal and our customers will come back into a showroom asking for diesel cars – they will ask even more for electric cars. And that is speeding up.
With both the reported increase in air quality all around the world and the first-ever negative price of oil, resulting from drivers being confined to their homes, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Samuelsson also speaks as the head of a Sweden-based brand, which along with its Nordic neighbor Norway, has seen the most dramatic abandonment of ICE vehicles.
He also spoke about the trends towards ridesharing, self-driving, and smaller premium vehicles (at least in cities). In his mind, there will be much fewer big cars owned by individuals in the cities of the future.
Premium cars don’t necessarily need to be big cars, that’s old thinking. Expensive premium cars could be small or big.
While being quite bullish on some of these technology talking points, Samuelsson did hesitate to exclaim total belief in the rapid adoption of self-driving tech. When asked about a specific timeline on self-driving he replied, “Automated robot taxis will come in some years’ time, but they will be limited in application. They will work in certain areas. They will work only in good weather and up to a certain speed. That, too, will come, but maybe not as fast as we thought some years ago.”
Well guys, you can’t win them all, but we should take what we can get. It’s nice to hear a person at the top validate our optimistic outlooks, even if not on all fronts. As for AI and FSD, let’s just leave it to Tesla for now.