A venerable automobile manufacturer swears off the gasoline-powered engine.
Electric cars are moving from the fringes to the mainstream—particularly in China, where the government has offered big incentives to encourage electric-car startups. Still, few if any of the world’s legacy carmakers have answered the call for a greener, cleaner world quite like Volvo. In July, the Swedish-based, Chinese-owned carmaker announced that from 2019 onwards, every new Volvo vehicle would run on an electric motor—either a purely electric one, or a hybrid—moving away from the internal combustion engine.
Volvo’s move marks the biggest, boldest step toward a decarbonized future by a combustion-engine car manufacturer, and while sales of electric cars rode past the 2 million mark last year, Volvo’s commitment is urgently needed. Around 95% of the world’s transportation energy comes from petroleum-based fuels, and in the U.S., motor vehicles account for nearly one-fifth of greenhouse gas emissions. Volvo is reforming itself from a position of strength: It sold 534,000 cars last year worldwide, up 6.2% from the previous year.
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