Volvo to phase out Diesel and phase in Electric

With the reputation of diesel vehicles now marred and emissions standards getting stricter, maybe it’s time to let diesel die. At least, that’s what Volvo seems to think.

The Swedish automaker presented two concepts which are previews to its upcoming 40 Series models due to appear in 2017, and they are powered by a new plug-in hybrid powertrain with a T5 Twin Engine. At the launch event, CEO Hakan Samuelsson told media that Volvo will gradually replace diesel engines over the next 10 years or so, if the market dictates it to be so.

According to Samuelsson, the new hybrid system emits much less CO2 but still offers about the same horsepower and torque as diesel systems. While official numbers have not yet been released, the new Volvo hybrid powerplant is expected to spew out less than 95g/km of CO2, which is the EU’s target for passenger cars starting from 2021. Samuelsson also contends that the efforts to reduce CO2 emissions in diesels make them more difficult to maintain post-sale; for instance, additives might be required when refuelling and more tedious servicing could ensue. Cost-wise, diesel cars are expected to become more expensive while hybrids will become increasingly affordable; at some point, not too far in the future, hybrids will become cheaper than diesels (that’s what he said).

The Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) that underpins the new cars was developed together with relatively new owner, Zhejiang Geely Holdings of China, who bought over the then ailing carmaker from Ford in 2010. The CMA will be shared by both Geely Auto and Volvo to create a series of new models, with the former targetting the mass market and Volvo focusing on the global luxury market. It was developed specifically with electrification in mind, as it accommodates hybrid and pure electric drivetrains, as does Volvo’s one other architecture, the Scalable Product Architecture for larger cars. The CMA will allow Volvo to compete in the premium small car segment, which is a new direction for the brand long associated with bulkier models.

But what we’re really looking forward to is Volvo’s all-electric car, which will help the company in reaching its lofty goal of selling “up to”* one million “electric-assisted” vehicles by 2025. To do so, the company will offer at least two hybrid variants of each model and will launch its first pure electric car in 2019.

*Really, Volvo? Even ONE is in the range of “up to” a million. 

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