VW to stop making small diesel engines in wake of Dieselgate

VW to stop making small diesel engines in wake of Dieselgate
VW to stop making small diesel engines in wake of Dieselgate

Mild hybrids are the new way to go

Although Volkswagen has just unveiled its latest Golf with a new 1.5-litre diesel engine, it looks like it’s abandoning plans for a new range of smaller diesels. In the aftermath of Dieselgate, VW is counting the cost of meeting ever-more stringent emission legislation, as well as a decline in demand.

VW’s head of research and development, Frank Welsh, says the real stumbling block is the cost of developing an after-treatment system that will meet new CO2 and NOX rules.

“The added cost is anything from six to eight hundred Euros in material costs just for the after-treatment system,” he says, adding, “The after-treatment system is as expensive as the engine itself. To add a diesel in the Polo, it is 25 percent of the car itself.”

So what is the alternative? According to Volkswagen, it is small-capacity petrol-electric hybrid power. Welsh sees those drivelines accelerating into production. “A mild hybrid, in the end, is cheaper and has the same CO2 (as a small capacity diesel) with a lot less NOX,” he says.

“In most cases, it will be a 48-volt system for recuperation. Our latest system develops four times as much energy in recuperation,” says Welsch.

One outcome of this decision is the pulling from production of the current 1.4-litre turbocharged three-cylinder diesel engine, as found in the current VW Polo. However, as yet no firm date for this withdrawal has been announced.

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