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Volvo has pledged that it won't launch any new diesel models, starting with the new S60 saloon.
"Our future is electric and we will no longer develop a new generation of diesel engines," said Håkan Samuelsson, President and Chief Executive of Volvo Cars. "We will phase out cars with only an internal combustion engine, with petrol hybrid versions as a transitional option as we move towards full electrification. The new S60 represents the next step in that commitment."
Samuelsson went on to explain that Volvo now feels that hybrid, mild-hybrid, and plug-in hybrid technology have overtaken diesel not just in terms of reducing emissions, but also now in terms of cost, both at the time of vehicle development, and when that vehicle is subsequently in use.
Samuelsson did admit that a major advantage of diesel was long-range driving and low fuel consumption, but countered that the same benefits could now be achieved by the new generation of 48-volt mild-hybrids, which use electric starter-generator motors to help power the car's engine for short bursts, but come without the weight and complication of more conventional hybrids.
Volvo has said that it will continue to sell the diesel engines which are currently on sale in its range, but that these will be progressively phased out in favour of hybridisation as the new powertrains are ready. Investment in new diesel engines will cease. The new S60 will be available with a four-strong lineup of turbocharged petrol engines, in 2.0-litre and 1.5-litre forms, and there will be two plugin hybrid versions; a 340hp T6 and a 400hp T8. The outgoing V60 estate was available with a D6 plug-in diesel hybrid, but it was hamstrung by a combination of high price and poor real-world fuel consumption.
Volvo had initially launched its new XC40 crossover as a diesel-only vehicle in Ireland, but it is now introducing 2.0-litre T4 and 1.5-litre T3 petrol models, and a plug-in hybrid version is due for launch later this year.
Volvo also plans to dramatically ramp up the sale of pure-electric, battery-powered models, starting with the XC40 and the forthcoming V40, so that by 2025, half of all Volvo's global sales should be battery-electric vehicles. The new S60 will actually be built at Volvo's new plant in Charleston, South Carolina, and will be exported worldwide from there. It's part of a process of moving more and more Volvo production out of Sweden. Last year, production of the S90 saloon for all global markets was moved to China.