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Volvo's CEO Sees Hybrids Replacing Diesels in the Coming Decade (Even in Europe)

While the diesel emission scandal hasn't hit Europe as hard as the U.S., many automakers are reconsidering diesel due in part to tougher emission standards coming around the corner.
Posted: June 2, 2016 - 2:54PM
Author: Will Maley

Some automakers believe the future is with electric vehicles, while others see hybrids as a bridge from diesels. Volvo is the latter one. At a recent event revealing the 40 Series concepts, Volvo debuted the T5 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid that will appear in XC40 and other models in the near future.

According to Car and Driver, Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson believes hybrid powertrains will replace diesels in the next decade or so.

“It is a very attractive alternative to a diesel engine. It offers much lower CO2 levels but more or less the same performance in both horsepower and torque. On cost, I would say that within a couple of years we will see a crossover, the diesel getting more expensive and the [hybrid system] going down,” Samuelsson told reporters at the event.

While there is no data or fuel economy data for the new T5 Twin Engine, Car and Driver was told that the powertrain would emit less than 95g/km in European testing - bringing larger tax benefits in a number of European countries. Samuelsson also said that the powertrain would deliver diesel-like economy in real-world conditions. That doesn't mean Volvo will get out of the diesel game.

“Diesels will be more expensive, they will have much more advanced after-treatment with additional fluids that have to be filled not once a year, but probably every time you refuel the car. I think that it’s very realistic that the percentage will go down. If it will go down to zero, I think we don’t need to speculate—let the future decide, let customers decide. We are flexible enough that we can make petrol and diesels on the same line, basically,” Samuelsson said.

Volvo appears to be following in the footsteps of Lexus with transitioning to hybrids. As our own John Goreham noted in a comparison between the BMW 535d and Lexus GS 450h, Lexus has stopped selling diesel models in Europe due increased taxes on CO2 emissions.

Pic Credit: Volvo