Volvo ditching gasoline engines for electric, hybrid cars after 2019

Volvo is leaving conventional gasoline vehicles on the side of the road.

The Sweden-based brand, owned by Chinese automaker Geely, said Wednesday that any new or redesigned vehicles it launches after 2019 will be electric or hybrid vehicles.

The company will no longer design any new models with conventional internal combustion engines after that date.

Although the announcement marks what Volvo called the "historic end" of pure-gasoline vehicles, it will take years after 2019 for them to completely disappear off dealership lots. That's because automakers typically sell new models for several years, with small improvements in the interim years, before completely redesigning them. 

In other words, it could take until around 2025 for all new Volvo vehicles sold at the dealership to be electrics or hybrids.

Electric cars are fully powered by a battery and electric motor, while hybrids get a fuel-economy boost from a battery but still run on gasoline.

“This is about the customer,” Volvo global CEO Hakan Samuelsson said in a statement. “People increasingly demand electrified cars and we want to respond to our customers’ current and future needs. You can now pick and choose whichever electrified Volvo you wish.”

The move makes Volvo the first major automaker to chart such a path. Silicon Valley automaker Tesla, which is still a niche automaker by volume, already sells only electric vehicles.

Volvo said its transition would start with three new mainstream, fully electric cars from 2019 through 2021.

The automaker said its goal is to sell 1 million electric or hybrid cars by 2025 and to lower its carbon footprint.

"We expect that the decision is also largely driven by CO2 regulations," Evercore ISI analyst Arndt Ellinghorst said in a note to investor, referring to carbon emissions standards.

Like other automakers, Volvo is under pressure to meet fuel economy targets, particularly in Europe, where diesel vehicles are falling out of favor.

Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.

© 2017 USATODAY.COM


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