The future of internal combustion engines (ICE) is looking bleak dim and it’s happening faster than we may realise. Whether this is a moment for celebration or despair really depends on how you choose to look at things.

Many people still can’t imagine a world without sonorous V8’s and loud screaming 12-cylinder engines, or even the regular vrrpha heard in nearly every street in SA. Truth is that climate change is destroying our planet, the place we call home, and we need to start looking at more sustainable sources of energy to run our vehicles. Now a lot of car manufacturers have pledged to begin steering their ships away from ICE engines and the harmful CO2 gasses they emit, and move towards environmentally friendly sources of fuel. Diesel engines are first in line for the axe, with Europe announcing a ban on all diesel engines by 2030. Added to this, many vehicle manufacturers are no longer offering oil burners in certain model line-ups. What’s the solution?

Alternative methods of transportation like hybrid and all-electric vehicles. Brands like Toyota/Lexus have committed to having a hybrid variant in all their future models within the next decade. If you’re still wrapping your head around the world of hybrid engines, in summary, these cars use a combination of electric and conventional internal combustion energy, resulting in less CO2 emissions, better fuel economy and a happier planet. 

Other brands such as Volvo have implemented a more aggressive strategy in the battle against climate change. The Swedish firm isn’t taking baby steps towards achieving a neutral carbon footprint, by 2025 (in under 4 years from now) they plan on having half of their models running on full-electric energy. In 2030 every Volvo rolling off the assembly line will be an electric vehicle (EV). This new breed of Volvo’s will also do away with the use of leather material and only utilize synthetic and other none-leather textiles. 

These aren’t just plans on paper for the firm, as they’ve begun their EV assault as we speak, and it starts with the Volvo XC40 Recharge. This is Volvo’s first fully electric SUV and it spearheads the mission towards an all-electric line-up. “The XC40 Recharge represents the future of Volvo and shows where we are going,” said Chief technology officer, Henrik Green. “It is fully electric, offered online only with a convenient care package and will be available for quick delivery.” Yes, you read right. Volvo’s all-electric range will only be available for purchase through your computer screen, or whichever device you’re using for online shopping these days. 

Two electric motors will run the XC40 Recharge with power coming from a 78kWh battery for a total of 304 kW and 660 Nm. For your convenience, the SUV will have a fast-charging function which will enable it to charge up to 80 percent in around 40 minutes. With technology constantly improving, those concerned about range anxiety need not worry. The brand promises a range of around 420km from a fully charged battery, which is more than enough for daily commutes. With all the tech in the XC40 Recharge, you’ll be able to do software updates over the air. Think of it as the vehicles routine service, minus the grime and messy oil. With this, Volvo expects the range to constantly improve over time. The good news is that SA is on the list of recipients for the XC40 Recharge. Managing Director of Volvo Car South Africa had this to say “While launch plans for the Volvo XC40 Recharge in the South African market have yet to be finalised, I am pleased to announce we will be bringing the XC40 Recharge, our first all-electric car, to this country this year. It is a very important step in our plans.” We’re looking forward to an electrifying future from the Swedish brand, starting with the electric SUV in the second half of this year.

By Gugu Masuku