Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson has expressed doubt over the long-term future of diesel engines.
"Europe had legislation that allowed NOx levels of diesel engines to be high, but it is safe to say those days are over," he said, speaking at the Geneva motor show. "We have to make a diesel engine with same NOx as a petrol engine, and while that can be done, it will be more expensive, which is why in the long term it's a negative thing."
Samuelsson conceded that diesel has a crucial role in the short term "to cope with the 95g/km CO2 requirement, so until 2020 diesel will continue to have a very important part to play. After that twin engine (hybrid) and all electric cars will become more favourable cost-wise, and when the requirement comes down below 95g/km, I am quite sure the diesel engine cannot help us."
Instead, he sees the future as increasingly electrified. "We will introduce our first all-electric car in 2019," he said, "and by 2025 I can see us offering a pure electric model in all of our ranges."
However, Samuelsson has no plans to create a bespoke electric vehicle architecture, as the two platforms upon which all Volvos will be based by the end of this year were always engineered with electric applications in mind. Samuelsson refused to be drawn on which model would be first to be electrified or what its likely performance and range might be.
He also anticipates having a autonomous Volvo on sale by 2021, capable of being driven "unsupervised". He described the technology as a "no-brainer" that will "transform the value and usefulness of cars".
Samuelsson said: "once you’ve been in an autonomous car, you’ll never want to buy a car without it." He did admit, however, that the technology is going to be expensive, saying: "It will add a lot to the price of the car, but when you consider the value and efficiency of being able to work while the car drives you, it will be worth it".