Diesel has had an increasing rough ride during the current decade—scandals, emission crackdowns, a push for electric vehicles—and it's becoming clear that some automakers are reaching their limits.
That includes Volvo, whose chief executive officer has declared its newest generation of diesel engines may be its last, according to Reuters.
"From today's perspective, we will not develop any more new generation diesel engines," Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson said.
However, Samuelsson also backtracked a bit in a statement saying that, at least for the next few years, diesel would still play an important part in meeting reduced emission standards.
"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."
Samuelsson has confirmed diesel's eventual fall at Volvo before.
Last year, the CEO said he felt diesel's role in the company's lineup for Europe would eventually "cross over" and be supplanted by plug-in hybrid powertrains.
As hybrid technology and battery costs decrease, the prices of those cars will fall; on the other hand, diesel powertrain technology will become more costly, per Samuelsson.
He believes the exhaust aftertreatment systems must become increasingly complex to meet stringent emission standards now in effect in Europe and North America.
That applies even more to tougher limits in the future now being contemplated by legislators in Europe.
Volvo does not sell any diesel-powered vehicles in the U.S., where it will continue to invest in electric vehicles and hybrids.
The first all-electric Volvo is slated to arrive in 2019, though the company has two battery-electric vehicles under development.
One is based on the automaker's larger SPA platform, used for large luxury models like the S60 and S90 sedans and XC60 and XC90 SUVs, while the other uses Volvo's smaller compact CMA architecture.
Some plug-in hybrids in smaller models will reportedly use a new 3-cylinder engine design, derived from the company's current 4-cylinder unit.
The plug-in hybrid vehicles will arrive before the battery-electric cars.
Volvo has big plans for hybrids that don't plug in as well: it will launch a 48-volt mild hybrid system in 2019 for use in gasoline and diesel engines.
At first it will use a 13-horsepower electric motor, but later on, that output will be boosted to 20 hp.
The Swedish marque hopes to sell a total of 1 million electrified vehicles by 2025; we'd say that's certainly putting diesel on the back burner.