VW not giving up on diesel
Volkswagen Group still sees a future for beleaguered diesel engines, report several media.
According to VW CEO Matthias Mueller, diesel will see a renaissance in the not-too-distant future because people who drove diesels will realise that it was a very comfortable drive concept.
His comments are audacious, considering that Volkswagen's Dieselgate emissions-cheating scandal is in large part to blame for the fall from grace of diesel technology.
A European Ford executive echoed Mr Mueller's sentiment, adding there is certainly a future for diesel engines even though they can be expected to disappear from smaller cars.
The market killed diesel
FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne, meanwhile, commented that the market has killed diesel. "It doesn't matter any more whether diesel is good or bad for the environment," he commented. FCA has indeed announced it will stop producing diesel cars by 2022.
Mr Mueller, on the other hand, believes it is a matter of time before it will dawn upon consumers that diesel engines can be eco-friendly.
A number of Volkswagen's competitors have recently announced plans to phase out diesel engines for passenger cars, most recently Toyota.
The fall from grace of diesel engines goes hand in hand with a growing popularity of petrol variants. An unpleasant side effect of this switch is an increase in CO2 emissions.
For many years, diesel technology was used by carmakers to improve their average CO2 emissions, to meet European goals in that regard and particularly to avoid hefty fines if those goals aren't met. These fines are becoming increasingly likely as CO2 emissions went up for the first time in ten years in 2017, according to reports of JATO Dynamics. Toyota, a long-time advocate of hybrid technology, might be the only one to escape the EU fines.
Many customers are still wary of accepting full electric cars, unimpressed by the vehicles' range, charging point availability and high prices. Instead, carmakers are looking elsewhere to improve their average CO2 emissions. Hybrids and 48-volt hybrids can be expected to grow in importance in the next few years.
The growing appetite for large and heavy SUVs is also cited as an obstacle for electric powertrains.
Image: Volkswagen TDi engine