Ex-Volvo CEO: “Electric Vehicles Have No Mainstram Role In The Foreseeable Future”

FEB 6 2013 BY STAFF 7

Having recently been released as CEO of Volvo this past October, and finding himself out of work for the first time in 27 years,  Stefan Jacoby made himself a little more unhireable by taking the time to talk down electric cars at media lunch organised by the news agency, headlineauto.

According to Jacoby, fear and cost, are the main deterrents to electric vehicles going mainstream, an event that won’t happen for at least 10-15 years:

“If the battery goes down on their cell phone people feel really bad. If it’s your car in the middle of a traffic jam you will feel even worse.”

Mr. Jacoby said that he feels electric vehicles, like the Nissan LEAF, can provide a roll now, but not for most people,  “…they will have some sort of role, for example, in cities as taxis or urban delivery vehicles, but for a normal household, no.”

2013 Volvo V60 Hybrid In Production Now

2013 Volvo V60 Hybrid In Production Now

Volvo itself has had a long history of not being thrilled about developing (or selling) plug-in vehicles, especially the all electric ones.  In 2011, Volvo made a small fleet of C30 electrics for testing, but nothing came of them.

Recently however, the company did launch an extended range hybrid, similar to that of the Chevrolet Volt, but with a much higher price-tag, and using diesel instead of regular gasoline, the V60 PHEV.  The V60 gets about 31 miles of range (NEDC rating) from a 11.2 kWh lithium battery, for a cost of about £50000 ($78,000USD).

“I have made myself unpopular before by saying this, but I do not believe they have a mainstream application in the foreseeable future.   The reasons are clear.  The price and the uncertainty of what happens to the batteries as they lose charge-holding capacity, and the emotional distrust of a car that can leave you stranded on a highway in traffic and 40-degree heat are all problems.

“Think how you feel when your mobile phone runs out of charge and there’s nothing you can do – the feeling of sitting in a car that has run out of charge would be much worse.”

During his tenure at Volvo, Mr. Jacoby had been at odds with the company’s Chinese owner (Geely) over expansion into that country,  as well as Volvo’s overall direction.  In September he suffered a mild stroke, and was (courageously) replaced by Volvo’s Board Of Directors while he was on medical leave.  Volvo director Håkan Samuelsson was pegged as the new man to lead the turnaround.

Headlineauto.co.uk via AutoCar.co.uk

Categories: Volvo


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7 Comments on "Ex-Volvo CEO: “Electric Vehicles Have No Mainstram Role In The Foreseeable Future”"

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Volvos aren’t mainstream either, Mr. ex-CEO.

Like anything, each brand and model has it’s place. EVs are mainstream once they have a price that the common-man can afford. Oh – look, the lease deals are better than many ICE vehicles today. I wonder how things will play out in this landscape?

What is mainstream right now is the secondary, used car market where far more vehicles are traded per year than new showroom-sold vehicles. EVs are not mainstream because they do not account for any sizeable sales number as used vehicles. You want mainstream? That’s the used car market.

As an EV enthusiast, I agree with his assesment. 10-15 years is a reasonable amount of time for mainstream adoption of EVs. Of course, the term “mainstream” in and of itself is somewhat subjective. Some people would say hybrids are not mainstream yet since they are only 3% to 4% of the market.

The Leaf outsold the Volvo XC90, C70, S80, BMW X1, BMW 1, X6, Z4, Audi A3, A7, A8, TT, R8 and about 80 other models in the US….so does that mean that those models are not ‘mainstream’ either?

There is a reason why he is the Ex-CEO of Volvo. lol

Volvo? V60 PHEV with 1500 units per year? Yeah, tell us about your broad and deep knowledge of EV market. Volvo is having all possible fingers crossed that successor of xc90 will have at least same popularity as predecessor, since there is no other Volvo model making any decent sales numbers worldwide.
And yes I really think that mainstream automotive producers should carefully decide whom they give a right to speak to the public. Good thing is that he’s ex 🙂

geez, $78k for a plain looking volvo??

I’d say this guy is selling sour grapes to compensate for a non-starter product.

it’s all about the battery….

I guess he has never heard of the Volt.