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Volvo powering ahead with plans to build only electric or hybrid vehicles from 2019


Pledge: Hakan Samuelsson

Pledge: Hakan Samuelsson

AFP/Getty Images

Pledge: Hakan Samuelsson

Volvo has become the first traditional car maker to announce that all of its new models will have an electric motor.

From 2019 the Swedish manufacturer will only launch cars that are either pure electric, or hybrids combining electric and conventional engines.

Volvo Cars president Hakan Samuelsson said it "marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car" and hopes there will be strong UK demand.

He told a Press conference: "I think we have a very flexible concept. The infrastructure for charging is a limitation but I think we have this twin engine which is much more suitable.

"If you have a garage of your own you can charge it overnight.

"I think it's a car for the UK."

Air pollution is linked to an estimated 40,000 early deaths a year in the UK and 37 out of 43 areas exceed legal European Union limits for the key pollutant nitrogen dioxide, much of which comes from diesel engines.

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Volvo Cars will launch five fully electric cars between 2019 and 2021, three of which will be Volvos and two from Polestar, its high-performance car arm.

Mr Samuelsson said: "This is about the customer. People increasingly demand electrified cars and we want to respond to our customers' current and future needs."

He added: "Volvo Cars has stated that it plans to have sold a total of one million electrified cars by 2025.

"When we said it, we meant it. This is how we are going to do it."

Volvo claims the announcement underlines its commitment to minimising its environmental impact and making cities cleaner.

It has committed to having a climate-neutral manufacturing operation by 2025.

Greenpeace UK clean air campaigner Paul Morozzo said Volvo had "recognised the huge gains to be made by leading the way in electric".

He went on: "We know electric vehicles are the future, and it's not a case of if, but when, old style cars powered by climate wrecking fossil fuels will be a thing of the past.

"Instead of continuing to invest in new diesel technology, all car manufacturers should be turning their attention solely to electric and hybrid technology."

US firm Tesla announced on Monday that its first mass-market electric car, the Model 3, will go on sale on July 28 after passing regulatory requirements.