Swedish car company Volvo has become the first major car brand to announce it will exclusively make electric models from 2019.

In two years, all cars made by the Chinese-owned company will be either fully electric or hybrids, making it the first traditional automaker to phase out pure combustion-engine vehicles.

Volvo Cars’ chief executive Hakan Samuelsson, said:

“This announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car.”

Though traditional car makers such as BMW and Toyata have all launched hybrid and electric car models, the fact that Volvo is going fully electric is an interesting move. This will bring the car maker in direct competition with Elon Musk’s Tesla, the revolutionary electric-only automaker.

Tesla, which began in 2003, recently became the US’s most valuable car company, valuing it at $13.9bn and overtaking the 100+-year-old General Motors in the process. In addition, this week it announced that its new Model 3 vehicle will start production, two weeks ahead of schedule.

Musk tweeted that production of the Model 3 will go from 100 in August up to 20,000 by December in order to meet demand for the new vehicle.

The move to electric cars will be good for anti-pollution campaigners around the world. In the UK, the government is being taken to court for a third time over its delayed attempt to release an effective plan to reduce air pollution to within safe limits.

As part of this supposed plan, the government is expected to introduce a “toxin tax” to dissuade drivers across the country from using diesel cars, as it produces four times more nitrogen dioxide and 22 times more particulates than petrol cars, which makes the vehicles major health risks.

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Transport for London (TfL), London’s transport agency, has said it will stop buying diesel-only double decker buses by 2018 as it instead turns to electric only or hybrid buses to run across the capital’s streets. London is infamous for its toxic air pollution and more than 9,000 Londoners are thought to die every year from long-term exposure to air pollution.

London mayor, Sadiq Khan, said:

“I want London to become a world leader in hydrogen and electric bus technology and I hope other cities around the world will join me in sending the message that only the cleanest technologies are welcome where we live and work.”