Volvo Cars said it would convert its entire lineup to battery power by 2030, phasing out internal combustion engine vehicles faster than other automakers like General Motors.
Volvo, based in Sweden and owned by Geely Holding of China, has been ahead of larger rivals in converting to electric power. In 2019, all the models it sold were either hybrids or ran solely on batteries.
By 2030, Volvo will “phase out any car in its global portfolio with an internal combustion engine, including hybrids,” the company said in a statement on Tuesday.
Hybrids have better fuel economy than conventional vehicles, but they may not be much better for the climate or for urban air quality if drivers do not use the electric capabilities.
G.M.’s promise to sell only emission-free vehicles, which it made in January, does not take effect until 2035.
Volvo acknowledged that it was responding in part to pressure from governments, many of which have announced bans on internal combustion engines in coming years.
The company said its decision was based “on the expectation that legislation as well as a rapid expansion of accessible high quality charging infrastructure will accelerate consumer acceptance of fully electric cars.”
In another break from industry practice, Volvo’s electric models will be sold exclusively online, bypassing dealers.
“Instead of investing in a shrinking business, we choose to invest in the future — electric and online,” Hakan Samuelsson, the chief executive of Volvo, said in a statement.
Stocks were set to drop on Tuesday after benchmark indexes recorded their best day in months on Monday.
Wall Street futures indicated the S&P 500 would open about 0.3 percent weaker. On Monday, it gained 2.4 percent, the most since June. The Nasdaq and Dow indexes rose the most since early November.
Traders are recovering from a volatile few days when a sell-off in government bonds rattled the equity market. On Monday, the rout eased but now bond yields are pushing higher again. The yield on 10-year U.S. Treasury notes rose 3 basis points, or 0.03 percentage point, to 1.45 percent on Tuesday.
Analysts at RBC Capital Markets said markets had been testing the central banks’ resolve to keep interest rates low globally and that policymakers would have to take action to drive this message home.
“However, we remain convinced that the structural upward pressure on yields remains,” they wrote in a note. “The reopening of the economies coupled with sizable fiscal spending programs and supply constraints will make it difficult for bond markets” to gain. Bond prices rise when their yields decline.
Shares in Zoom rose nearly 9 percent in premarket trading after the video conferencing company said its revenue surged 326 percent in its past fiscal year to $2.65 billion.
Stock indexes across Europe were mostly higher. The Stoxx 600 Europe gained 0.3 percent.
The annual inflation rate for the eurozone was 0.9 percent in February, the same as the previous month and in line with economists’ expectations, data published Tuesday showed. “These numbers represent the calm before the storm,” Claus Vistesen, an economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, wrote in a note. In a few months, he wrote, inflation will jump to reflect the change in energy prices over the past year.
Shares in Taylor Wimpey, a British homebuilder, rose more than 2 percent. It reported a drop in revenue in line with expectations but expects to recover as Britain emerges from lockdown. It also set aside 125 million pounds ($174 million) to fix cladding and complete other fire-safety work on buildings it put up in the past two decades. Thousands of apartment blocks in Britain are clad in flammable material, which has made them dangerous and nearly impossible to sell or refinance.
Most stock indexes in Asia dropped after China’s top financial regulator said that the high leverage in the financial system needed to be reduced. Guo Shuqing said he was “very worried” about bubbles in China’s property sector and that bubbles in U.S. and European markets could burst.
A unionizing campaign that had deliberately stayed under the radar for months has in recent days blossomed into a star-studded showdown to influence the workers.
On one side is the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union and its many pro-labor allies in the worlds of politics, sports and Hollywood. On the other is one of the world’s dominant companies, an e-commerce behemoth that has warded off previous unionizing efforts at its U.S. facilities over its more than 25-year history: Amazon.
The attention is turning this union vote into a referendum not just on working conditions at Amazon’s warehouse in Bessemer, Ala., which employs 5,800, but on the plight of low-wage employees and workers of color in particular, Michael Corkery and Karen Weise report for The New York Times. Many of the employees in the Alabama warehouse are Black, a fact that the union organizers have highlighted in their campaign seeking to link the vote to the struggle for civil rights in the South.
The warehouse workers began voting by mail on Feb. 8 and the ballots are due at the end of this month. A union can form if a majority of the votes cast favor such a move.
Amazon’s countercampaign, both inside the warehouse and on a national stage, has zeroed in on pure economics: that its starting wage is $15 an hour, plus benefits. That is far more than its competitors in Alabama, where the minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.
“It’s important that employees understand the facts of joining a union,” Heather Knox, an Amazon spokeswoman, said in a statement.
The situation is getting testy, with union leaders accusing Amazon of a series of “union-busting” tactics.
The company has posted signs across the warehouse, next to hand sanitizing stations and even in bathroom stalls. It sends regular texts and emails, pointing out the problems with unions. It posts photos of workers in Bessemer on the internal company app saying how much they love Amazon.
The University of Idaho is one of hundreds of colleges and universities that adopted fever scanners, symptom checkers, wearable heart-rate monitors and other new Covid-screening technologies this school year. Such tools often cost less than a more validated health intervention: frequent virus testing of all students. They also help colleges showcase their pandemic safety efforts.
But so far the fever scanners, which look like airport metal detectors and detect skin temperature, have flagged fewer than 10 people out of the 9,000 students living on or near campus, Natasha Singer and Kellen Browning report for The New York Times. Even then, university administrators could not say whether the technology had been effective because they have not tracked those students to see if they went on to get tested for the virus.
One problem is that temperature scanners and symptom-checking apps cannot catch the estimated 40 percent of people with the coronavirus who do not have symptoms but are still infectious. Temperature scanners can also be wildly inaccurate.
Administrators at Idaho and other universities said their schools were using the new tech, along with policies like social distancing, as part of larger campus efforts to hinder the virus. Some said it was important for their schools to deploy the screening tools even if they were only moderately useful. At the very least, they said, using services like daily symptom-checking apps may reassure students and remind them to be vigilant about other measures, like mask wearing.
Some public health experts said it was understandable that colleges had not methodically assessed the technology’s effectiveness against the coronavirus. After all, they said, schools are unaccustomed to frequently screening their entire campus populations for new infectious diseases.
Even so, some experts said they were troubled that universities lacked important information that might help them make more evidence-based decisions on health screening.
“It’s a massive data vacuum,” said Saskia Popescu, an infectious-disease epidemiologist who is an assistant professor at George Mason University. “The moral of the story is you can’t just invest in this tech without having a validation process behind it.”