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Geely-owned Volvo Car Group said on Wednesday all new models launched from 2019 will be fully electric or hybrids, spelling the eventual end to nearly a century of Volvos powered solely by the internal combustion engine.
The Gothenburg-based company will continue to produce pure combustion-engine Volvos from models launched before that date, but said it would introduce cars across its model line-up that ranged from fully electric cars to plug-in hybrids.
Volvo's plans make it the first major traditional automaker to set a date for the complete phase-out of combustion-engine-only models though electrification has long been a buzzword across the industry and Elon Musk's Tesla Motors has been a pure-play battery carmaker from day one.
"This announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car," Volvo Cars Chief Executive Hakan Samuelsson said in a statement.
Five new models set to be launched in 2019 through 2021 - three of them Volvos and two Polestar-branded - will all be fully or partially electric. "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," Volvo said.
"This means that there will in future be no Volvo cars without an electric motor."
Volvo has invested heavily in new models and plants since being bought by Zhejiang Geely Holding Group from Ford Motor Co. in 2010, establishing a niche in a premium auto market dominated by larger rivals such as Daimler's Mercedes-Benz and BMW.
Part of its strategy has also been to embrace emerging technologies which allow higher performance electric vehicles as well as, eventually, self-driving cars.
Only last month, Volvo said it would reshape its Polestar business into a standalone brand, focused on high-performance electric cars aimed at competing with Tesla and the Mercedes AMG division.
Volvo has also taken steps towards an eventual listing, raising 5 billion crowns from Swedish institutional investors through the sale of newly issued preference shares last year, though the company has said no decision on an IPO has been made.
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