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.”