Here are a couple stories from Wired.com. As you read them, ask yourself: Where the hell are American automobile manufacturers?
French environment minister Nicolas Hulot has said that the country plans to end the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040, and cease coal-fired electricity generation by 2022 (Ars Technica). The latter goal is a relatively simple one, as coal contributes just 4 per cent of the country’s power generation. The move to eliminate petrol and diesel vehicles, described as a “public health agenda” is a more complex proposition, but one that could be aided by the French government’s part-ownership of Peugeot and Citroen parent PSA, as well as Renault, potentially prompting them to follow in Volvo’s footsteps by committing to electric vehicle production. Hulot also said that he wants to reduce nuclear power to a 50 per cent share of the country’s energy mix by 2025, in favour of solar, wind and other renewable energy sources, although he was not clear on how this would be achieved. (Summary by wired.com.)
ON TUESDAY, VOLVO took the world on a short journey to the future. Starting in 2019, every new model the Swedish automaker releases will run at least in part on electric power. “We are determined to be the first premium car maker to move our entire portfolio of vehicles into electrification,” Volvo chief Hakan Samuelsson said in a statement.
Between 2019 and 2021, Volvo will roll out five battery electric models, along with a cavalcade of plug-in hybrids and “mild hybrids,” which supplement internal combustion engines with batteries and motors. The company isn’t killing gas yet, but it’s on its way.
No doubt it’s good news for the planet. It also happens to be an excellent marketing strategy and a smart gambit to secure the company’s rep for decades to come. “There’s a big branding benefit to being first,” says Costa Samaras, who studies alternative energy at Carnegie Mellon University. “By announcing the end of the internal combustion engine, Volvo can plant a flag and hopefully attract some investment and talent."
Meanwhile, in China, drivers purchase half the world’s electric vehicles, and EVs must make up 12 percent of each manufacturer’s sales by 2020. The country will likely get even more aggressive about electric and hybrid production this year. (Volvo, once owned by Ford, was acquired by Hangzhou-based Geely in 2010.)