Despite numerous manufacturers pivoting their electric vehicle (EV) plans due to wavering demand in key markets, Volvo’s local boss is confident the brand can stand by its strategic shift to an EV-only range from 2026.

    Speaking with CarExpert at the Australian media launch of the new EX30 electric crossover, managing director for Volvo Car Australia, Stephen Connor, said he believes the premium electric segment in Australia is still growing, with the Chinese-owned Swedish brand well placed to go all-electric in 18 months time.

    “Globally, everybody is pulling down the BEV (battery-electric vehicle) market, ‘oh it’s dropped, it’s dropped’. There are two camps in the BEV market – you’ve got the volume camp, and you’ve got the premium camp,” Mr Connor said.

    “If you dissect the two, the volume camp is the one that’s dropping. In the premium segment, if you look at Australia alone, it’s still doing okay… it’s starting to settle down a bit, but it’s still growing, it’s absolutely still growing – so there’s no need to panic, necessarily.

    “The market is what it is. The premium segment is still growing, around the world it’s still going. But when you add it to the volume [segments], everybody is going ‘woe is me, the BEV market is dropping’ – no it’s not, really.

    “Secondly, if things change [for us] change by 2026 it will be product driven… and I’m confident even today that the total market – if you take out utes in Australia it’s about 18 per cent [BEV], that’s a fair chunk of a million cars per year already.

    “The experts in Australia say by 2026 it’s 160,000 cars, and even they’re saying that’s conservative. So that’s 160,000 BEVs, and we only want 10 per cent of that… I think it’s fair to say that’s well and truly achievable [for us].

    “So you’ve got to measure the volume that you want versus the market you’re trying to get, and I’m not worried about the battery electric market, I’m really not at the moment. It’s a decent market to go for,” Mr Connor added.

    In 2023, Volvo Car Australia had its best-ever calendar year of sales in Australia, returning 11,128 registrations – coming off the back of the brand setting successive sales records for the last six out of seven years.

    Of those 11,000-plus new vehicles delivered to Australian customers, 3949 cars were Volvo Pure Electric models, or roughly 35 per cent of the brand’s total volume in 2023.

    Mr Connor issued a statement via media release earlier this year that he expects Volvo Australia’s yearly volume to be “nearly 80 per cent” electric by 2025, driven by the introduction of the new EX30 which is expected to account for around a third of Volvo’s yearly volume locally.

    3900 EX30s are forecast for the 2024 calendar year, effectively doubling last year’s EV volume for the brand.

    Volvo will launch its new EX90 flagship SUV either late this year or early next, bolstered by an as-yet unnamed new electric model sometime in 2025. The EX30 Cross Country has been confirmed for our market at some point, too.

    Mr Connor hasn’t said no to more plug-in hybrids ahead of the 2026 deadline, provided they’re based on existing models or facelifts – and left the door open to these vehicles continuing Down Under if the market demands them.

    However, as it stands all new model launches (not to be confused with facelifts) will be all-electric. Currently, the XC60 and XC90 SUVs offer ongoing PHEV models, with the S60 sedan recently regaining a PHEV option in the form of the limited-run Black Edition.

    Volvo sells a range of plug-in hybrid versions based on the XC40, V60, S90 and V90 globally, but these have either been ruled out or culled from the local market in recent years. The brand also killed its diesel range in Australia in 2019.

    On the other hand, the EX30, as well as electric versions of the C40 and XC40 (soon to be EC40 and EX40) are all on sale in Australia now, with the EX90 on the way. The brand sells the EM90 electric MPV overseas, and it’s understood electric replacements for its other models will be launched in the coming years.

    Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

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    James Wong

    James Wong is the Production Editor at CarExpert based in Melbourne, Australia. With experience on both media and manufacturer sides of the industry, James has a specialty for product knowledge which stems from a life-long obsession with cars. James is a Monash University journalism graduate, an avid tennis player, and the proud charity ambassador for Drive Against Depression – an organisation that supports mental wellness through the freedom of driving and the love of cars. He's also the proud father of Freddy, a 2019 Volkswagen Golf GTI .

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