Powertrain focus to shift exclusively to petrol, EV for future Volvos

VOLVO chief executive Hakan Samuelsson has indicated that the Swedish manufacturer will drop diesel engines from its next generation of passenger vehicles, and will instead focus on petrol, hybrid and electric vehicle (EV) technologies.

Speaking to German publication Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Mr Samuelsson said that the cost of reducing nitrogen oxide emissions in the face of tightening regulations was becoming too great, and that when its current suite of engines is due for an update in the first half of the next decade, diesels will be dropped.

“From today’s perspective, we will not develop any more new generation diesel engines,” he told the German publication.

In Europe, limits to a manufacturer’s average carbon dioxide (CO2) fleet emissions stand at 130 grams per kilometre, and will need to fall to 95g/km by 2021 to remain viable.

In a separate statement to Reuters, Mr Samuelsson said that diesel technology would continue to be an important part of Volvo’s immediate product strategy, and that the recent release of a new generation of diesel engines meant a concrete decision to discontinue diesel was not yet required.

“We have just launched a brand new generation of petrol and diesel engines, highlighting our commitment to this technology,” he said. “As a result, a decision on the development of a new generation of diesel engines is not required.” Volvo currently offers a range of four- and five-cylinder engines across every model of its passenger range, however a greater push towards green technologies will consign oil-burning engines to the Swedish brand’s record books.

Last year Volvo announced a plan to sell a combined one million electrified vehicles by 2025, which includes introducing its first all-electric vehicle in 2019.

It plans to introduce electrified variants across all of its 40-, 60- and 90-series models in the near future, as the only hybrid variant in its current range is the top-spec XC90 T8 large SUV – which pairs a twin-charged four-cylinder petrol unit with a hybrid electric battery system.

The focus on greener technology is part of Volvo’s ‘omtanke’ pledge, which is Swedish for ‘consideration’ or ‘caring’, and includes promises for climate neutral operations by 2025, filling 35 per cent of its leading positions with women by 2020, and eliminating all deaths and serious injuries in Volvo vehicles by 2020.

The car-maker is also claiming that it is developing industry-leading clean air delivery solutions and materials.