Volvo, the Chinese-owned Swedish automaker, announced Tuesday that starting in 2019 it will only make fully electric or hybrid cars. “This announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car,” Håkan Samuelsson, Volvo’s president and chief executive, said in a statement.
The move is a significant bet by the carmaker that the age of the internal-combustion engine is quickly coming to an end—though the Gothenburg, Sweden-based automaker is lone among the world’s major automakers to move so aggressively into electric or hybrid cars. Volvo sold around half a million cars last year, significantly less than the world’s largest car companies such as Toyota, Volkswagen, and GM, but far greater than the 76,000 sold by Tesla, the all-electric carmaker.
Volvo said Wednesday that starting in two years, its cars will be electric, plug-in hybrids or mild hybrids. Between 2019 and 2021, Volvo will launch three fully electric cars and two high-performance electric cars from Polestar, which will be spun off into a separate premium car company. Volvo said these five cars “will be supplemented by a range of petrol and diesel plug in hybrid and mild hybrid 48 volt options on all models.”
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