Currently reading: Volvo boss predicts the death of diesel
Diesel engines will have a significant role in lowering CO2 emissions until 2020, but beyond that, electrified cars will prove cheaper and more prevalent
Andrew Frankel Autocar
2 mins read
7 March 2017

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".

Meanwhile, Volkswagen has estimated that the price of applying autonomous technology to its all-electric I.D hatchback would approximately double the car's cost.

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7 March 2017
Diesel will die when the perpetrators of the "Dieselgate" - also the biggest beneficiaries of the diesel scam - say it dies. I look forward to hearing something to this effect from Muller or Diess. Then I will know that the role of the diesel is going to be limited to buses, trucks, lorries, SUVS, farm machinery and other large vehicles - which is what it should have been all along but for the avarice of those who have lined their deep pockets while filling millions of lungs with the fatal soot.

7 March 2017
Fair enough Norway ,the Country making a fortune by selling gas and oil intends to ban petrol and diesel by 2020,but there are still too many doubts about electric,the obsolescence rate and depreciation,battery longevity etc,yes diesel engines under 1.6 will go due to costs etc, but they are not very good in that size anyway a 2 litre often more economical in the real world as I have found out.

7 March 2017
Volvo never was a leader in clean diesel technology, so Mr.Samuelsson's steady gloom and doom message on diesel is from the perspective of lower positions in the marketplace. It is unfortunate because the Volvo diesel electric hybrid - had they stuck with it -- would have been a game changer in the US and other markets- the best of all worlds for efficiency and utility. The new generation of diesels that achieve the Euro 6 standards will be essential to achieving Paris Climate and CO2 commitments. No question that the VW scandal has dinged diesel pretty hard, but there is also no question that the versions of the technology like we have here in the US are super clean, and still desired by consumers.

13 March 2017
Is this an open discussion forum or not?

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