11:00 PM | November 16 2020
More EV incentives needed, says Volvo Car Australia MD
In an interview with industry journal GoAuto, Nick Connor says Volvo’s plug-in hybrid models are performing well in Australia and that the company would like to see government and state incentives to encourage further take-up of electrified vehicles.
Volvo Car Australia’s managing director has called for more federal and state government incentives to boost sales of electrified vehicles in the country.
Nick Connor, speaking in an interview with industry journal GoAuto, said such assistance could help Australia match the trend of electrified cars in other parts of the world, where incentives are typically offered to buyers.
Connor’s remarks coincide with the recent launch of the Volvo XC40 Recharge Plug-In Hybrid, a petrol-electric version of the brand’s highly popular compact luxury SUV.
The variant joins existing plug-in hybrid (PHEV) versions of the XC60 and XC90 SUVs, the S60 luxury sports sedan and V60 luxury wagon – all of which sit under Volvo’s Recharge umbrella name for fully electric and plug-in hybrid models.
“Electrification has not taken off in the same way here [in Australia] as it had in a lot of other markets around the world,” Connor told GoAuto. “That said, our plug-in hybrid (PHEV) variants are doing really well – we can sell all the PHEVs that we can get … they are being very well received and I think it’s a first step in this marketplace.
“We would love to see a bit more incentive from the federal government and individual states to encourage the take-up of electrified vehicles, but I think it’s really interesting that even without some of the incentives that exist elsewhere in the world that there is still a very significant demand for PHEVs [in Australia].”
Volvo Cars’ plug-in hybrid models are already performing strongly in Europe, accounting for about a quarter of the company’s sales, according to IHS data.
Above: Nick Connor, Volvo Car Australia managing director.
Globally, sales of Recharge models doubled in the first seven months of 2020 compared with the same period in 2019.
Connor told GoAuto that Volvo Car Australia for now needed to focus buyers on the positive experience of owning and driving a plug-in hybrid vehicle in the absence of incentives, such as tax savings offered elsewhere.
“What we’ve seen over recent years is that most people who have bought a PHEV don’t go back [to a purely internal combustion engine]… And I think what it will do is then give people the confidence to move on to BEVs [battery electric vehicles].”
The first fully electric Volvo, the XC40 Recharge Pure Electric, has just started production at the company’s manufacturing facility in Ghent, Belgium, and is due in Australia in 2021.
It is the first of several fully electric Volvo models that will be launched over the next few years, and the company is aiming for EVs to account for half of its global sales by 2025.
Connor admitted to GoAuto that, while it would likely take Australia longer to reach that kind of percentage, especially without incentives, the company would aim to highlight how EVs offered many benefits despite their higher purchase cost.
“I think it’s about telling people the whole picture around EVs and explaining you can’t just look at the lump-sum purchase price; you have to look at the whole life cost of the car,” he said in the interview.
“I think what will happen actually is that fleet operators will get onto the benefits of EVs probably quicker than a lot of consumers and they’ll buy on the basis of cost savings and the fact there are environmental benefits.”
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