Volvo will turn all electric starting in 18 months

All Volvo car models launched after 2019 will be electric or hybrids, the Chinese-owned company said on Wednesday, making it the first major traditional automaker to set a date for phasing out vehicles powered solely by the internal combustion engine.

The Sweden-based company will continue to produce pure combustion-engine Volvos from models launched before that date, but its move signals the eventual end of nearly a century of Volvos powered solely that way.

While electric and hybrid vehicles are still only a small fraction of new cars sales, they are gaining ground at the premium end of the market, where Volvo operates and where Elon Musk's Tesla Motors has been a pure-play battery carmaker from day one. As technology improves and prices fall, many in the industry expect mass-market adoption to follow.

"This announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car," Volvo Cars CEO Hakan Samuelsson said.

The company, owned by Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, said five new models set to be launched in 2019 through 2021 - three of them Volvos and two Polestar-branded - would all be fully electric.

More at Reuters.

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