Swedish carmaker Volvo says it is phasing out the internal combustion engine in favor of electric motors by 2019.
Volvo, which is Chinese owned, is the first traditional carmaker to announce the move.
“This announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car,” said Volvo’s president Håkan Samuelsson in a statement Wednesday. “People increasingly demand electrified cars, and we want to respond to our customers’ current and future needs.”.
The company, which made a name for itself for emphasizing passenger safety, said it will offer five electric cars between 2019 and 2021. Three will be branded as Volvo and the others will be labeled as Polestar, the company’s high-end brand.
The company said it will also offer plug-in hybrid or other hybrid-type cars, some of which do use a small gas engine along with a rechargeable battery.
The company says it will continue to make pure combustion engine cars launched prior to 2019.
Geely, the Chinese company which has owned Volvo since 2010, was likely an impetus for the move as electric vehicles have been eagerly adopted in China due to high levels of air pollution.
According to Center for Automotive Research at Germany’s University of Duisberg-Essen, the country is home to half the world’s electric cars. China has said it wants 5 million electric cars on Chinese roads by 2020.
Electric carmaker Tesla recently announced it was in talks to build a plant near Shanghai.