17.5.2017Volvo to scrap new diesel engine development
Volvo is set to stop developing new diesel engines as the costs involved in reaching increasingly stringent emissions regulations are becoming too high.
Reported by Reuters, Volvo chief executive Hakan Samuelsson said: "From today's perspective, we will not develop any more new- generation diesel engines," in an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
Existing diesel units will continue to be developed to meet future emissions standards, but a new engine to replace the existing scalable Volvo diesel won't make production. It is expected that the current diesel unit will continue to be produced for another six-seven years or so.
Volvo will instead focus its development budgets on petrol and alternative fuel projects - in particular, hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and pure-electric vehicles. The company has already committed to creating a plug-in variant of each new model on the market from the 90-Series onwards - with T8 versions of the XC90, V90, S90, and V90 Cross Country already either in production or confirmed as on their way.
Likewise, the smaller 60-Series will get plug-in hybrid models across the board, with the XC60 which leads the new offerings due to have a T8 model in its line-up by the end of the year. The remaining 60-Series and new 40-Series models set for launch in the next few years will follow the same rules.
Volvo has specifically designed its engines and platforms to be deal with electrification from the outset. It has also confirmed that a pure-electric model is due in 2019, which promises stylish Swedish design and long electric range to take on Tesla and forthcoming models from the likes of Audi, Porsche, and Jaguar.
"We have to recognise that Tesla has managed to offer such a car for which people are lining up. In this area, there should also be space for us, with high quality and attractive design," said Samuelsson.
He expects that as the cost of diesels increases due to higher development costs, plug-in hybrids in particular will become increasingly popular. The current XC90 PHEV offers more power, torque, performance, and fuel economy than the diesel variant, but costs around £10,000 more to buy initially.
With costs expected to rise for diesel models, and electric powertrain costs due to fall, the time when there is a crossover point in terms of cost for these two models is not likely to be far away.