The diesel engine’s best days may well be behind it. Mainstream car makers are speaking out, and in a few years’ time, we may not have diesel powered cars at all. Volvo’s CEO Håkan Samuelsson has clearly indicated that future diesel engines will not only be expensive to build but will also be costly to run, due to complex emission control devices that require a lot of maintenance.
Volvo is now placing its bets on petrol-hybrid technology. The Swedish automaker has developed a petrol-hybrid powertrain called the T5. The hybrid power train will use a 1.5 liter, triple cylinder petrol (180 Bhp) engine and an electric motor (74 Bhp). A 7 speed twin clutch automatic gearbox will be used to transmit torque. This hybrid system will be used on the upcoming Volvo XC40 compact SUV and also the S/XC60 series of cars.
Here’s why this T5 Petrol-hybrid may kills diesels:
- It promises to be as efficient as a diesel engine while producing lower emissions.
- It will be cheaper to run and maintain as it won’t have the complicated emission control systems that diesels will need to comply with ever tightening emission norms.
Meanwhile, here’s what Volvo’s CEO has had to say about the future of diesel engines,
It (T5 petrol-hybrid engine) 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. 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 fill the car. 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 customers decide. We are flexible enough that we can make petrol and diesel cars on the same line.
Why would a car buyer opt for a diesel when she/he has a petrol-hybrid option that is both efficient, refined and powerful? These are not the only reason why diesel engines’ days seem numbered.
- Cities across the world (Paris and London), including in India (Delhi and NCR), are coming down heavily on diesel engined cars. Manufacturers don’t have incentives to bet big on a technology that’s increasingly being hit by legislative measures.
- Emission norms are getting tighter and tighter.
- Automakers have started considering alternate technologies. Volvo is a front runner, and more could join soon.