Currently reading: New Volvo hybrid T5 engine means fewer diesel cars will be produced
New plug-in petrol and electric hybrid powertrain and tougher diesel emissions standards will lower the manufacturer's diesel output

Volvo's new three-cylinder T5 plug-in hybrid powertrain will significantly reduce the number of diesel cars it produces as it reacts to increasingly tough diesel emissions standards.

The new T5 hybrid system was shown in Gothenburg last month, alongside two 40-series concepts, and it will appear for the first time in the production XC40 next year

It uses a 74bhp electric motor that can power one of the shafts of a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox alongside a 180bhp turbocharged 1.5-litre three-pot petrol engine.

Electrical power comes from a 9.7kWh battery pack, which will give around 30 miles of electric-only range. According to Volvo’s head of R&D, Peter Mertens, the set-up is more efficient than rival hybrids and easier and cheaper to produce.

“It is a very attractive alternative to a diesel engine,” Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson said in Gothenburg. “It offers much lower CO2 levels but more or less the same performance in both horsepower and torque. On cost, I would say that within a couple of years, we will see a crossover, the diesel getting more expensive and the [hybrid system] going down.”

Volvo hasn’t released any emissions or economy data yet, but insiders indicate the T5 will manage substantially better than 95g/km on official tests and deliver diesel-rivalling economy in real-world use.

When asked if diesel cars will still be on sale in 10 years’ time, Samuelsson said: “Diesels will be more expensive. They will have much more advanced after-treatment, with additional fluids that have to be filled not once a year but probably every time you fill the car.

"It’s very realistic that the percentage will go down. If it will go down to zero, I think we don’t need to speculate; let customers decide. We are flexible enough that we can make petrol and diesel cars on the same line.”

The T5 system will be used in all the 40-series variants. Samuelsson said it is also likely to be offered in 60-series cars but not the largest 90-series models, where Volvo has a four-cylinder T8 that uses an electrically powered rear axle.


Read our review

Car review

A price cut and power drop aim to make Volvo's plug-in hybrid estate more accessible

Mike Duff

Mike Duff
Title: Contributing editor

Mike has been writing about cars for more than 25 years, having defected from radio journalism to follow his passion. He has been a contributor to Autocar since 2004, and is a former editor of the Autocar website. 

Mike joined Autocar full-time in 2007, first as features editor before taking the reins at Being in charge of the video strategy at the time saw him create our long running “will it drift?” series. For which he apologies.

He specialises in adventurous drive stories, many in unlikely places. He once drove to Serbia to visit the Zastava factory, took a £1500 Mercedes W124 E-Class to Berlin to meet some of its taxi siblings and did Scotland’s North Coast 500 in a Porsche Boxster during a winter storm. He also seems to be a hypercar magnet, having driven such exotics as the Koenigsegg One:1, Lamborghini SCV12, Lotus Evija and Pagani Huayra R.

Join the debate

Add a comment…
si73 13 June 2016

Interesting alternative

It may well sell better than their diesel models and as such may cause a reduction in diesels produced by them, it is great to have alternatives, and I would be interested. If you could buy one today it would be ved free wait til next year and it will be £140, no incentive to buy a low polluting car in the UK, will Europe be similarly afflicted?
Scratch 13 June 2016

All about money

si73 wrote: incentive to buy a low polluting car in the UK, will Europe be similarly afflicted?

And that is the trouble, possibly, people are reluctant to go less (local) polluting unless there is a financial incentive. £140 is a piffling amount in the overal scheme of things.

przemo_li 13 June 2016

For the reference

Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV have 9kWh and is rated 17 miles by EPA. (USA measure)

So smaller and more efficient body style should get better range 20-25 depending on how small drag coefficient they get.

PS in BEVs efficiency is very good, but that is by body style and torque&traction control & weight reduction. So big SUV like cars that do not make same effort won't replicate the efficiency.

The Apprentice 12 June 2016

I based my assumption on my

I based my assumption on my PHEV which has a 12kW battery but only uses 10kW of it as you can't flatten an EV battery too far or you damage it, the car prevents this. Typical range is 25 miles or less. Assume the Volvo only can only use say 8kW of the battery and is around the same weight then I think 18 miles tops, probably a fair bit less.