The world’s safest car is now among the most sustainable.
In a move to comply with the increasing zero-emissions targets for vehicles in the EU and U.S., Swedish car maker Volvo has announced it’s going completely electric and leather-free.
Volvo has so far only introduced one electric vehicle, the XC40 Recharge, after it first announced its plans to introduce EVs in 2019. The company, a subsidiary of Chinese multinational automotive company Geely Holding Group, now says it anticipates at least half of its sales to be in EVs by 2025.
“I am totally convinced there will no customers who really want to stay with a petrol engine,” Volvo Chief Executive Håkan Samuelsson told reporters Tuesday. “We are convinced that an electric car is more attractive for customers.”
The new C40 coupe can get an 80 percent charge in 40 minutes when plugged into a DC fast charger.
“There is no long-term future for cars with an internal combustion engine,” Volvo chief technology officer Henrik Green said in a statement. The transition to EVs will allow Volvo “to meet the expectations of our customers and be a part of the solution when it comes to fighting climate change,” he added.
The company is also removing all leather from its new cars. Livestock production is one of the largest contributors to climate change. It’s also linked to deforestation and water pollution. As consumers swap beef for vegan burgers at fast-food chains like McDonald’s and Burger King, alternatives to leather interiors are more in demand than ever before.
“We intend to reduce leather content in our cars and this will be a gradual transition,” a Volvo spokesperson said in a statement. “We are conscious that consumers increasingly want leather-free materials, due to concerns over animal welfare. We acknowledge these concerns, even though all of Volvo Cars’ current leather supply is responsibly sourced and all raw hides supplied to Volvo Cars are byproducts from the beef industry.”
Instead of leather, the company says it will use “several different material alternatives, including sustainable vinyls and textiles. Volvo Cars has the ambition that by 2025, 25% of the material within our cars (by weight) will be recycled and bio-based.”
A growing number of car companies are going fully electric. Most recently, luxury car manufacturer Jaguar announced its fossil-fuel-free shift. And it’s not just engines getting a makeover; French car tire giant Michelin is working on developing 100 percent sustainable rubber tires by 2050.
Volvo is also doing away with another pain point in vehicle purchases: car lot salespeople. The company said that the new C40 will only be available for purchase online. Like Tesla Motors, the leading EV producer, Volvo is moving toward a fully online sales model and will “radically reduce” its product ranges, with more transparent pricing models.