Africa may not be big on the whole green initiative but the rest of the world is, as Volvo is set to phase out all its gasoline engine cars by 2019. As from 2 years time, Volvo will only roll out hybrid or electric cars.The Swedish car company has also vowed to produce high-end cars that can compete with Tesla. This could have big implications down the road for climate change policy, oil demand, and the geopolitics of energy. Volvo on Wednesday evealed that it will phase outmodels that only have gasoline-powered engines, the kind that have powered most passenger cars since the Swedish-based carmaker got into business in 1927.
A move toward electric vehicles is a smart decision as EU rules on tailpipe carbon emissions meant to curb greenhouse gases have forced automakers to scramble to make cleaner engines in recent years. Diesels seemed the answer, until Volkswagen’s “Dieselgate” scandal cast a sooty black cloud over that “solution”. While other car manufactures are reluctant to take this bold step, bolvo has taken the brave leap. China are currently the undisputed lead in renewable energy and it isn’t coincidental that Volvo since 2010 has been owned by China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding.
China’s electric-car visions are much more ambitious than anything in the United States or Europe. Deadly air pollution, caused both by coal-fired power plants and by tailpipe emissions, has put a premium on cleaner vehicles. That’s why Beijing is underwriting electric cars with tax breaks, subsidies, and a host of infrastructure like charging stations. There are other considerations for China, too. It vies with the United States as the biggest oil importer in the world — and those oil imports create strategic vulnerabilities, like making the country susceptible to a blockade at times of conflict. Building more hybrid and electric vehicles in the world’s biggest auto market makes sense from a strategic point of view, even without worrying about pollution.
A shift away from oil to electrons as the fuel for cars also promises to slowly rewrite the geopolitics of the global energy trade. As far the implication on the immediate continent, Africa is still miles behind other continents when it comes to curtailing carbon emissions and it is unclear how this would affect the nergy scen come 2019. However, we should expect similar policies from law makes as more and more awareness continues to bring focus on the dangers of carbon emission. The early indications suggest that African counties might just be forced to catch up with the world on the renewable front as tides begin to change.