Aaron DiManna
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Volvo CEO Says COVID-19 Could Boost EV Sales

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Volvo XC40 Recharge EV could end up flying off of lots if Volvo's CEO is right about the impact of COVID-19.
Photo: Volvo

It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic is having a massive impact on the automotive industry and that it will do so for years to come. While none of us know exactly how everything will shake out, Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson recently came forward with an interesting prediction: the novel coronavirus will speed up consumers’ desire for electric vehicles.

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As reported by electrek’s Bradley Berman, Samuelsson said, “Electrification will go faster. 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.”

How will COVID-19 raise demand for EVs?

What his quote doesn’t make clear is why exactly he believes this shift will occur. There’s no denying that the pandemic has fundamentally changed the way the industry operates, both in terms of manufacturing and the customer experience, but neither of those factors is tied intrinsically to EVs.

Later in the interview, Samuelsson stated that he feels any government efforts to support the industry during these hard times should be directed in large part towards electric vehicles and forward-thinking tech. “If governments subsidize a return to the old world, I think would be a waste of money. They should use the money to promote new technology as they were planning to do before corona.”

If that’s what he’s basing his prediction on, then it could very well be accurate. If a sizeable influx of federal money went towards supporting EV research and production, there’s a very real possibility that the result would make all-electric vehicles more desirable on a shorter timeframe while bolstering an industry that’s taken a beating over the last few months. Until it happens, though, there’s no way to know for sure.

Regardless of COVID-19 and its widespread impact, Volvo is charging ahead with its plans for an all-electric future. The brand plans to release an EV every year for the next five years — starting with the XC40 Recharge — wants 50 percent of its global sales to be due to electric cars by 2025, and has even gone so far as to offer full rebates for one year of charging costs.

That seems like a pretty solid way to increase demand for electric cars to me.

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