According to Car and Driver, the CEO of Volvo – Hakan Samuelsson – is betting on hybrid powertrains eventually replacing diesels as the most popular means of squeezing the most miles out of a gallon of fuel. Rocked by recent scandals on both sides of the pond, diesel engines have lost some ground in their battle for a cleaner image. Even in Europe where diesels are more widely accepted than here in the States, the executive sees hybrids as eventually winning out as emissions regulations become stricter.
“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,” Samuelsson says, “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.”
Volvo has revealed its next generation of high-efficiency hybrids, known as the “T5”. The three-cylinder plug-in power plant will be found in the upcoming XC40 as well as other future 40- and the 60-series vehicles from the company. While data has not been released for the T5, Samuelsson states that it will rival the fuel economy of a diesel in real-world use.
“It is a very attractive alternative to a diesel engine,” Samuelsson is quoted as saying. “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.”
Check out the video below of a Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel and a Toyota RAV4 hybrid competing for the most mpg in a highway fuel economy comparison.