New Volvo CEO Sends a Strong Message About the Company’s EV Plans

EVs have many advantages over gas-powered cars. So most automakers, including Volvo, are working furiously to make the switch from gasoline to electric. Just as the California Gold Rush drew hundreds of thousands of people with dreams of making a fortune, automakers are scurrying to make their lineups fully electric. And new Volvo CEO Jim Rowan is determined to be among the first.

The Swedish automaker is on a fast track to electrify its lineup

Volvo CEO Jim Rowan, Volvo EVs
Volvo CEO Jim Rowan | Volvo Car Corporation

Volvo has made it clear that going electric is not just a goal or dream but a reality that will come to fruition. The Swedish automaker plans to have a fully electric lineup sooner rather than later. That’s why Volvo is cutting ties with the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA). According to electrek, the split will happen by the end of 2022. The reason? The ACEA plans to make Europe fully electric by 2035, but Volvo wants to do it faster.

The company intends to make half its lineup electric by 2025. That’s a bold endeavor, considering 2022 is more than halfway over. Then the lineup will be fully electric by 2030.

New Volvo CEO Jim Rowan says there are no excuses

To help set the plan in motion, Volvo made Jim Rowan its new CEO this past March. In a July interview with Automotive News, Rowan made it clear he’s fully behind the company’s vision.

“We set ourselves an ambitious goal, and when you do this, you are saying there are no ifs, ands, or buts. That is the direction of travel,” Rowan told Automotive News. “That means every hire that we make, every investment decision that we make, every design choice for our cars that we make are geared toward achieving that strategy. That helps us as a company stay focused on where the endgame is.”

To signal its intention to realize its goal, Volvo will introduce an as-yet-unnamed flagship to replace the XC90. It’s hoped the new vehicle will show the world Volvo’s sincerity and pique consumer interest so that buyers will also get behind the vision.

Rowan, a former Dyson executive, also noted he hopes to bring some of the style and visually appealing features that made his former employer a powerhouse in home appliances. 

The Volvo CEO is no stranger to electric cars

Though Rowan’s Volvo job is his first in the automotive industry, he brings years of experience in designing electronics. He was the president and chief executive officer of Dyson from 2017 to 2020, according to Volvo Cars. Before that, he was the company’s chief operating officer between 2012 and 2017. 

During that time, Dyson decided to dip its toes into creating a fully electric SUV. Upon its unveiling in 2020, the EV garnered quite a few fans because of its sleek design, for which Dyson has become well known. Sadly, Dyson had already canceled the SUV before revealing it due to astronomical production costs that would’ve required the company to sell each model for over $150,000. There doesn’t appear to be any further plans for Dyson to join the automotive world, but that one glimpse leaves us wondering what could have been.

So it makes sense Rowan would jump at the chance to lead Volvo into its electric future. He hinted in his Automotive News interview that his love of cars began when he was a child dreaming of becoming an engineer. 

Before his stint at Dyson, Rowan was the COO at Research and Motion from 2008 to 2012. That’s the company that makes BlackBerry devices. Given Rowan’s extensive history in electronics, Volvo’s goal of having a fully electric lineup by 2030 isn’t out of the question.

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