Volvo CEO says hybrids will supplant diesels, even in Europe


Volvo 40.1 concept

Volvo 40.1 concept

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Even though it has experienced some ripples of the Volkswagen emissions scandal, Europe remains a diesel stronghold.

Diesels have been popular in Europe for decades because of their high fuel economy, although governments in several countries are trying to limit their use because of concerns over air pollution.

That's partly why Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson believes diesel's reign in Europe will end soon.

DON'T MISS: Volvo will build compact electric car in 2019, along with larger model

Tougher emissions standards will lead to the replacement of diesels by gasoline-electric hybrids over the next decade or so, Samuelsson told Car and Driver in a recent interview.

Hybrids offer lower emissions than diesels, but Samuelsson believes they will soon cost less as well.

He said that in a few years there will be a "crossover," at which point costs for hybrid powertrains will steadily decrease, while the cost of diesel powertrains will steadily increase.

2016 Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid

2016 Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid

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That's because diesel engines will require more complex exhaust-aftertreatment systems to meet future emissions standards, Samuelsson said.

Volvo does not currently sell diesel cars in the U.S., but it does offer them in Europe and will as long as there is sufficient demand, Samuelsson said.

While the Volvo CEO discussed hybrids in general, in terms of the company's near-future product plans, it will be plug-in hybrids that will directly compete with diesels for sales.

ALSO SEE: Volvo's ambitious sales plans: 1 million electric & plug-in hybrid cars by 2025

Volvo already offers a T8 "Twin Engine" plug-in hybrid version of the XC90 SUV, and will offer it on the related S90 sedan and V90 station wagon as well.

All three models use the same Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform.

Volvo even offers a diesel plug-in hybrid version of the current V60 wagon in Europe.

2017 Volvo V90

2017 Volvo V90

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Called the V60 Twin Engine, it will likely be replaced by a gasoline-electric version when that model is redesigned.

Volvo will also introduce a downsized T5 "Twin Engine" plug-in hybrid powertrain in a line of compact cars based off its new Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) platform.

The new powertrain includes a turbocharged three-cylinder engine and seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, working with an electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack.

MORE: Volvo throws its weight behind CCS quick-charging standard for electric cars

It was designed for use in the new "40 series" models previewed by a pair of recent concepts, but Volvo CEO Samuelsson said the T5 could be used in larger models as well.

Volvo will need to add plugs to as many models as it can to meet its own ambitious goal of selling 1 million plug-in hybrids and electric cars by 2025.

In addition to the plug-in hybrids, Volvo has two all-electric models planned: one based on the SPA platform, the other based on the CMA platform.

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