STOCKHOLM (AFP, BLOOMBERG) - Swedish carmaker Volvo Cars said on Wednesday (July 5) it plans to phase out production of petrol-only cars in 2019, with all new models to be either electric or hybrid starting from that date.
Volvo, owned by China's Geely, said it plans to launch five fully electric models between 2019 and 2021, three under its own brand and two under the Polestar brand, as well as a range of hybrid models.
"This announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car," Volvo president and chief executive Hakan Samuelsson said in a statement.
The Swedish manufacturer will continue to manufacture existing petrol or diesel-only models launched before 2019, but they will gradually be replaced by hybrid and fully electric cars, a Volvo spokesman said.
In an interview with the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) in May, Mr Samuelsson had said he did not want to develop a new generation of diesel engines because of the high costs of stricter regulations.
The Swedish group aims to sell one million electric cars by 2025, by which date it hopes its manufacturing operations will be "climate neutral".
Conventional automakers from BMW AG to Volkswagen AG’s Audi are electrifying their line-ups to meet tightening emissions regulations and better compete with segment pioneer Tesla Inc., which starts making its third model this week.
In an effort to woo reluctant customers, manufacturers are offering longer driving ranges and more attractive designs.
BMW has said an electric model dubbed the iNext will replace the 7-Series as its flagship in 2021. Daimler AG’s Mercedes plans to release 10 new electric vehicles by 2022, earlier than previously announced.
Both carmakers expect battery-powered cars to account for as much 25 per cent of sales in about 10 years.
Audi has said every model line will have a hybrid or purely battery-powered variant by 2020.