The Volvo XC40 Recharge is the first in a series of new electric vehicles from the Swedish carmaker, and it is one step in the company’s transition to becoming an electric-only brand, with internal combustion engines (ICE) set to be banished from its future line-up. However, when will see the end of ICEs for Volvo?

In an interview with Car and Driver, company CEO Hakan Samuelsson revealed that it is possible that the third-generation XC90 could be the last new Volvo launched with the option of an ICE. The SUV is currently in its second generation, but Volvo has previously pointed out that a successor is on its way with fully-electric and hybrid powertrains – a reveal is expected to take place in 2021.

“With the new-generation XC90, you will get all of the new electronics, all of the safety devices, but if you live somewhere [without charging infrastructure] there will be a hybrid version,” said Samuelsson.

“After that, let’s see – there’ll probably be more and more electric cars. “It depends really on how fast customers will want to move, and how quickly electric infrastructure will be built up. Maybe I could answer like this: our ambition is definitely that we should be fully electric before it is made mandatory by governments,” he added.

The Volvo CEO is also convinced that going electric is the way forward in the growing premium segment. “You can speculate how long it will be until all premium cars are electric, but we have drawn the conclusion that if we want to be fast-growing, we should concentrate on that segment. It is much smarter for us than to try and take market share in a shrinking conventional car segment,” he said.

Volvo wants EVs to account for 50% of its global sales by 2025, and it has a few models on the way to ensure this. Moving forward, there will be EVs positioned alongside XC40 Recharge. “We’re looking at smaller vehicles under the XC40, where we’re planning to use an all-electric platform from our brothers Geely in China – the SEA platform. That’s something we plan to use in the future,” Samuelsson explained.

The SEA platform, otherwise known as the Sustainable Experience Architecture, was previewed by the Lynk & Co Zero Concept at this year’s Beijing Motor Show. Volvo plans to continue offering mild hybrid and PHEV options with its larger cars – possibly up to next XC90 – but smaller models are said to be pure electric only.

“For a car smaller than the XC40, you can argue there is no point in doing a combustion version, because a small, gasoline-driven car is also a cheap car. The question [for us] is whether it can be premium and profitable,” said Samuelsson.