The heart of the auto industry keeps expanding outward from Detroit, the BBC notes: first west to Silicon Valley, thanks to Tesla, and now east to China, thanks to a major move from Volvo. The Swedish carmaker, owned by the Chinese firm Geely, is poised to become the world's first traditional auto manufacturer to start phasing out cars powered by the internal combustion engine alone. That means that, starting in 2019, all new Volvo car models will either be all electric or hybrids, Reuters reports. Five new models, which will be churned out at various plants around the world, are planned for the period between 2019 and 2021. Models launched before 2019 that run strictly using the old-fashioned engine will continue to do so.
"People increasingly demand electrified cars," Volvo Car Group CEO Hakan Samuelsson says, adding that the company's goal is to meet those customer demands now and in the future. With this announcement, Volvo not only inches closer to full-on competition with Tesla, which so far dominates the electric-vehicle market, but it also aligns with China's own big push toward electric. The Wall Street Journal and Forbes note the country's recent policy initiatives in the electric-car arena, as well as sales of electric cars that topped half a million in 2016—almost four times the number sold in the US, and double the number sold in Europe. Volvo's ultimate goal: to sell 1 million fully electric cars or hybrids by 2025, the AP notes. (Volvo was just "dethroned" by Volkswagen in Sweden.)