Automaker Volvo has set a new goal: to go all-electric by 2030. The car manufacturer plans to significantly expand its Ridgeville, South Carolina plant to build the new electric vehicles. The ambitious plan to make only electric cars and sport utility vehicles comes as many rival automakers have made similar announcements, each in support of the governments goal to create new jobs and cut United States emissions in half by the end of the decade.
Anders Gustafsson, President, and CEO of Volvo Cars USA indicated that the transition means the South Carolina plant will double or triple its size to meet the demand – creating a significant amount of new jobs.
“We have had 100 percent growth [in America] the last five years, and we are planning for another 100 in the upcoming years,” he said. “We will go from quite low production capacity to the highest capacity ever in the U.S. market. Therefore, we need to recruit more colleagues [and] more resources.”
Volvo recently debuted the C40 Recharge, its second electric model. Though that car will be made in Belgium, all of the company’s SUVs will be made in the States. These SUVs, called the XC90, are specifically for the American market. In Europe, Volvo Trucks set a goal that at least half of its sales will be electric. That goal is likely to have a massive impact on European emissions, as Volvo trucks are responsible for transporting around 45 percent of the continent’s goods. The shift to full electric is a logical one.
“It’s very, very tough to be kind of a number one or be good at two tasks at the same time. That’s the reason why we will leave the development of combustion engines and go for a full focus on all our engineers into electrification,” Gustafsson added.Though Volvo’s manufacturing timeline may be the most aggressive, the company is not alone in its manufacturing shift. General Motors recently announced it will launch 30 electric vehicles in the next five years, with a goal of selling only emission-free cars and trucks by 2035. The company has also committed to global carbon neutrality by 2040. Competitor Ford Motor Company plans to invest $22 billion in electrification over the next 15 years, and go electric-only in Europe by 2030. These automakers back the new U.S. administration’s strong environmental commitments and dedication to reducing carbon emissions. The teamwork between the federal government and automakers is necessary to truly half emissions across the country. The results are, however, not only environmental. There are numerous additional benefits to electric vehicles for consumers, job seekers and manufacturers: less cost, more opportunities, a more competitive economy and healthier air to breathe.