Oil-burners have been having a tough time over the past couple of years as manufacturers are finding that, while this type of engine is efficient in terms of consumption, they can be detrimental to the environment. Future emissions regulations will also affect the production of diesel engines.
At Geneva, Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson suggested that the brand might end production on its turbodiesel engines by 2020 and focus on its twin-engine petrol-electric hybrid powertrain until eventually transitioning into electrification.
The new regulations will force Volvo and other manufacturers to lower their emissions to 95 g/km by 2020 which is a near impossible figure to reach with a diesel powerplant. The current Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine, however, manages to only squeeze 49 g/km out of its pipes.
The Volvo V40 D2 emits 89 g/km, but with relatively low outputs of 88 kW and 280 N.m, there is an inherent sacrifice. A petrol-electric hybrid powertrain can produce more power and less emissions.
A diesel-electric hybrid system has been thought of before, but this system would be far less feasible than the conventional system that is currently in play.
“Just improving the efficiency of a combustion engine, I think, is already done. The next step is hybridisation and pure electric cars,” Samuelsson says.
It seems that this is a route many manufacturers will have to explore once the new emissions standards take effect in 2020.
Perhaps Toyota had the right idea with the original Prius…