Diesel-powered vehicles could end up costing double the price of those with hybrid powertrains in the future, the boss of Toyota’s powertrain division has predicted.
As increasingly stringent emissions regulations force car manufacturers to equip their diesel-powered cars with traps and aftertreatments to reduce the amount of particulates emitted from the exhaust, these costly systems will drive up the cost of cars. Traditionally diesel-powered cars have cost more than petrol variants, but less than hybrids.
Koei Saga, Toyota’s powertrain boss, said: “I think the diesel has got a very big challenge, maybe also some petrol engines. For diesel, the emission treatment is very difficult. You need a lot of technology for that and the regulations are getting harder and harder. And I think in the future diesels could cost double what we pay for a hybrid, so the costs will go up. Therefore I think for the diesel engine it will become more and more difficult.
“However there are buses, trucks and ships that rely on diesel so we are conducting our research and we will continue to look at how to minimise the costs, so even if they go up they can be capped somehow.”
Despite the threat of cost rises, Saga was adamant there will still be a role for diesel engines in many car markets around the world.
“Even if the regulations get more strict in the industrial countries such as the USA, Japan, Europe and maybe China, there will be a lot of regions and countries that will need diesel cars and vehicles.
“Particularly in the emerging markets, I think there will be a demand for very efficient diesel cars with high torque and toughness. We are continuing developing to get more efficiency and more environmentally friendly diesel cars, so I do not think that diesel will die,” he said.
Diesel's share of UK new car registrations in the year to October was 47.8%, compared with 48.2% in the same period of 2015. Petrol has also experienced a minor decrease in market share, from 49.1% of the total market to 49.0%, while registrations of new alternatively fuelled vehicles has increased from 2.7% of the market in 2015 to 3.3% this year.