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Asia Minute: Volvo plugs into new electric vehicle challenge in Australia

volvo electric v
Joe Buglewicz/AP
FR171646 AP
People look at the Volvo Concept Recharge electric vehicle concept car during the CES tech show Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Joe Buglewicz)

Sales of electric vehicles are rising in Hawaiʻi, along with the rest of the world. But they've been starting from a low base in many countries. A major automaker is planning a change that may shift the market for electric vehicles down under.

Volvo is changing the rules of the road when it comes to selling cars in Australia. The company said that within four years, it will stop selling vehicles there that run on gasoline.

Volvo has committed to stop selling vehicles powered by fossil fuels everywhere in the world by 2030. But it's starting with the Australian market and a target year of 2026.

Competitors are not exactly rushing to make similar promises.

Toyota released a statement saying that there are “significantly differing levels of access to infrastructure throughout urban, rural and remote Australia.”

Australia's Labor government has been trying to pass legislation to bring down the cost of electric vehicles, but that’s now stalled in the Senate.

Many automakers remain focused on hybrids with gas engines that can kick in to defeat the “range anxiety” faced by prospective owners of all-electric vehicles.

But the head of Volvo’s Australia operations dismisses the idea that hybrids are needed as a bridge to fully-electric vehicles.

Stephen Connor put it simply to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, saying, “There is no long-term future for cars with an internal combustion engine.”

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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