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Volvo will stop making new all-combustion cars next year

Volvo

Elon Musk, the showy CEO of Tesla, will begin production of his much-discussed mainstream-priced Model 3 electric car on Friday, beating his schedule by two weeks, but Chinese-owned Volvo today sought to upstage him with the announcement that it will stop introducing new fully combustion vehicles next year.

The Wall Street Journal's William Boston reports that Volvo will introduce only fully electric or hybrid battery-and-combustion cars as of the 2019 model year, the beginning of a phase-out of combustion-only. Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson was light on details apart from reiterating Volvo's previous vow to sell 1 million electrics and hybrids a year by 2025. But the early abandonment of conventional cars is stunning. Bloomberg's energy geopolitics writer Javier Blas tweets, "First major automaker to go all electric / hybrid — this will cause concern from Saudi Arabia to Exxon Mobil."

Why it matters: Volvo's move vastly escalates the commercial and geopolitical contest to dominate electric cars, a warning shot at Detroit and rivals across the globe that they may have to be bold if they want to compete in the new age of transportation.