Any colour you like - as long as it’s electric
Was I, I wonder, the only person to feel a pang of nostalgia on reading about Volvo Car’s decision to electrify all its new model launches from 2019? Okay, they won’t all be fully electric, there will be hybrids as well but, as the first traditional carmaker to announce such a move, has Volvo sounded the death knell for the combustion-engine-powered car?
We all knew it was coming, we just didn’t know how quickly. I suspect that few people would have imagined that a major manufacturer would make such a commitment quoting such a short time span. Eighteen months is but a blink of an eye in the automotive universe - in any universe come to that.
My pang of nostalgia comes from my being old-fashioned. I make no apology for that. When I look around me these days, I am increasingly convinced that being out of fashion is a state hugely to be welcomed. Just the other day, the Speaker of the House of Commons declared that the wearing of ties was no longer obligatory in the Chamber. I swear I felt the earth quiver. Nor am I some latter-day King Canute, standing on the shoreline vainly imploring the oncoming tide to beat a retreat. Change is inevitable and inexorable, and so it should be.
Volvo Cars President Hakan Samuelsson said the step “marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car” and he hopes there will be a strong demand for the new vehicles in the UK. That remains to be seen. He told a press conference: “The infrastructure for charging is a limitation but if you have a garage of your own you can charge it overnight. I think it's a car for the UK.”
I have a garage of my own. Unfortunately it does not have a power point. It’s a bit old-fashioned, like me. It is also filled with the memorabilia of a lifetime, a collection of books, photographs and such for which I have no room indoors but cannot bear to throw out.
Truly, nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.
Simon Duval Smith
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