VOLVO is to stop making petrol and diesel cars with all new models fully electric or hybrid by 2019.
It’s the first mainstream manufacturer to make the move which could spell the end for diesel.
The toxic fuel has come under heavy fire in the last year with the threat of extra taxes to be levied on diesels and even the potential for a scrappage scheme to remove the most polluting cars from UK roads.
Pay-per-mile road pricing has even been proposed to cut diesel journeys even more.
Other major cities are expected to bring in pollution zones, too.
Volvo’s president Hakan Samuelsson said: “This announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car.
“People increasingly demand electrified cars.”
Volvo’s target is to sell one million electric vehicles — either hybrids or those powered solely by battery — by 2025.
It will launch five fully electric cars between 2019 and 2021 — three Volvos and two from Polestar, its high-performance car arm.
And other manufacturers could follow suit as toxic legislation becomes increasingly expensive to achieve.
Technology needed to meet a further emissions crackdown post-2020 could add $325 (£250) to the price of a diesel – and they already carry a near £2,000 premium over petrols.
The prohibitively high costs has led Renault to admit its going to ditch small-engined diesels in the future while Volkswagen will instead turn to petrol-hybrids for the next generation Polo.
And half of Brits admitted they plan to ditch their diesels when they buy their next car.
While owners are trying to shift their dirty cars on the used market but are struggling to sell them and are instead having to accept knock down prices.
New car sales of diesel continue to plumment in the UK – down 14 per cent in June according to latest figures released this week by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
In contrast, hybrids and electrics were up by 29 per cent.
Despite the decline, diesels still account for more than half of all new registrations in Europe and 90 per cent of Volvo’s XC90 sales in Europe have diesel engines.
But the fuel has been heavily criticised since the Volkswagen emissions scandal for emitting dangerous nitrogen oxides (NOx) that are filling the air in major cities and causing thousands of deaths a year.
Steve Gooding, of motoring research charity the RAC Foundation, said it was a “bold move”.
He added: “Hybrids have become increasingly commonplace with around 320,000 of them on Britain’s roads at the end of last year, ten times the number of battery-only cars.”