Volvo Goes Electric: Is This the Beginning of the End for Gas-Powered Cars?


Volvo just became the first big carmaker to go all electric. If followed by other auto giants, even partially, that could have big implications down the road for climate change policy, oil demand, and the geopolitics of energy.

Volvo said Wednesday that it will phase out models that only have gasoline-powered engines, the kind that have powered most passenger cars since the Swedish-based carmaker got into business in 1927. Instead, starting in 2019, each Volvo will be either a hybrid — combining an electric motor with a small gasoline engine — or a pure electric vehicle.

And they won’t all be the safe-but-boring sleds that have come to characterize Volvo over the years: It will also make high-performance electric cars to compete with those of Tesla under the brand Polestar. It is the first big automaker to swear off pure gasoline- or diesel-powered engines.
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