Charles Frump Talks About Volvo Car Malaysia’s Fast-Changing Reality With Electric Vehicles

Charles Frump

Volvo is forging an exciting new path into the future of electric motoring

The advent of electric vehicles has provided us with an excellent opportunity to look at things afresh lately. At the vanguard of that new spirit is Volvo, the Swedish car company, which has established itself as one of the foremost automotive companies steering the future of electric vehicles. Channelling the forward-facing energy of a new generation of cars, Volvo is navigating the world towards a more conscious journey

“Adopting electrification will pave the way to a sustainable future. When people choose electric driving, they are contributing to the betterment of the planet by reducing tailpipe emissions on their daily travels,” said Charles Frump, the Managing Director of Volvo Cars Malaysia. 

As Volvo moves forward into the future with intelligence, creativity, and fearlessness, we chatted with Charles Frump about their fast-changing reality and their perfect electric vehicles to navigate those realities. 

Here’s our conversation with Charles Frump, Managing Director of Volvo Car Malaysia:

How will Volvo impact the environment moving forward with its electrified fleet? 

Our focus has always been to be the leaders of sustainable personal mobility, and we have a line-up of fully-electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) for Malaysians.  Volvo has a car for everybody, no matter where they are in the spectrum of electric adoption, and by giving them opportunities to adopt sustainability in their daily drives, Malaysian drivers can play a part in cleaner and safer environments with lesser emissions.

The future we envision for both the company and our customers is fully electric, and our Volvo C40 Recharge Pure Electric for example comes with a full-electric powertrain that produces an output of 408hp and 660 Nm of torque that will take you from 0 to 100km/h in just 4.7 seconds – offering our customers performance comparable to that of a sports car. 

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On the other hand, our PHEVs now have a rear electric motor producing 145hp compared to the previous 88hp. The additional electric power means they are the most powerful hybrid cars Volvo has ever produced. The increased battery capability also allows drivers the ability to drive primarily in pure electric mode, and Volvo Cars estimates that the new powertrain has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by up to around 50 per cent under the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) drive cycle.

Charles Frump

There are a lot of reasons why people should start adopting electrification and get themselves into driving electric. When they drive a Volvo plug-in hybrid, for example, carbon emissions are reduced and they are assured that they can go the distance when needed while having the option to go fully electric for their daily commutes. On the other hand, driving a fully electric vehicle will produce no tailpipe emissions at all, with more than sufficient range for daily commutes and cross-city driving.

Drivers will also benefit from digitalisation because Volvo electric vehicles receive automatic over-the-air updates, meaning the car is constantly improving its performance, giving a seamless and intuitive driving experience.

Electric vehicles have high merit in terms of recognition, but why do you think it’s hard for people to make the change?

I would have to say that the change is definitely in the making as we speak, especially with the significant increase in electrification adoption by Malaysian consumers. More charging facilities are also coming online in recent times making it more accessible for local electric vehicle owners.

Volvo offers a wide range of electric vehicles from plug-in hybrids to our fully-electric models, and these options may nudge people in the right direction, especially for those who are already considering taking the first step to make that change.

While we still aim to offer only fully electric vehicles by 2030, it is also important that we actively educate our consumers about the importance of making that first step towards electric mobility, and the simplest way is through our current range of plug-in hybrids. We understand that Malaysians still experience range anxiety on longer trips and worry about the availability of fast-charging infrastructure. With plug-in hybrids, first-time electric vehicle owners will have an easier transition into a fully electrified driving experience whilst having a petrol-powered backup drivetrain that can take over unexpected situations or longer distances.

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Charles Frump

What are the main steps you’re going to take to become all electric by 2030 and climate neutral by 2040?

In 2021, Volvo Cars signed the Glasgow Declaration on Zero Emission Cars and Vans at the UN climate change conference COP26. It’s a commitment that we have made alongside industry leaders and governments to phase out fossil-fuel vehicles. By moving forward with an electrified fleet, we can reduce our carbon footprint on the planet as we continue manufacturing our cars sustainably all around the globe. Our goal is to reduce 40 per cent of carbon emissions per vehicle by 2025.

We are also the first car manufacturer to join the SteelZero initiative. This means by 2025, all of our steel will be sourced from net-zero steel and by the same year, we are increasing the share of sustainable recycled and bio-based materials in our cars (25 per cent recycled or bio-based plastics, 40 per cent recycled aluminium, 25 per cent recycled steel).

This year, Volvo Cars switched to renewable fuels for ocean freight which will cut fossil CO2 emissions by 84 per cent. As the first global car maker to announce such a switch, we’ll achieve an immediate reduction in fossil CO2 emissions from intercontinental ocean freight by 55,000 tonnes over a year, which is equivalent to the CO2 emissions of a full truck driving around the equator about 1,200 times! The fuel used is Fatty Acid Methyl Esters (FAME) and is based on renewable and sustainable sources, mainly waste cooking oil.

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We place the same expectation for ethical and sustainable practices on our business partners as well because we want to be a force for good and have a positive impact on the planet and within society. We aim for transparency and traceability throughout our entire sourcing process, and we also choose financing opportunities for a safer and better environment.

Why is being sustainable, fully electric, and safe, Volvo Car Malaysia’s top priority? 

Safety is in our DNA. As a leader in the field for decades, safety is part of our heritage and the backbone of our company. We’ve always been a human-centric brand that cares for the people around us.

As a company with a long history of giving people the freedom for personal mobility, we also recognise the role the industry plays in the impact on the well-being of the planet and most importantly, we recognise the opportunities to be part of the solution.

By being a sustainable company “For Life”, we are making meaningful contributions to reducing global warming further to avoid significant harm to the planet and people. 

This includes our goal to be fully electric by 2030. With our short and long-term ambitions, carbon reduction will be a top priority for us at Volvo, and for those who work alongside us. As we continue to manufacture our cars, we will be fully transparent about the progress we are making.

The future of safety leadership to us means looking beyond the intelligent technology for driver and passenger safety we’ve pioneered, to how we can also protect what’s important to the wider world and the planet.

Discover more at Volvo.com.my

A lover of steamy romance books and all things green, Syameen Salehaldin is the Senior Content Producer for Harper's BAZAAR Malaysia. She spends most of her time immersed in books, and food and doing anything that makes her happy. Expect to see her diving into lifestyle, fashion and beauty trends on this platform.