Rolling out its Compact Modular Architecture in the new T5 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid powertrain will be a clean alternative to diesel vehicles, Volvo says.

The T5 Twin Engine will be used for the first time in the new plug-in hybrid XC40 compact SUV set for a 2017 launch. It will offer better emission results than previous diesel offerings, according to Volvo, while at the same time providing similar performance at a competitive price.

Since disclosure of Volkswagen diesel emissions cheating last September, Volvo and other automakers are restructuring their product pipelines. Volvo says that tougher diesel emissions standards, and the availability of new plug-in hybrids, will lower the automakers diesel output significantly over time.

“It is a very attractive alternative to a diesel engine,” said Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson about the T5 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid powertrain. “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.”

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Over the past five years, Volvo has developed two all new vehicle architectures for larger and smaller cars – Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) and Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) – that can incorporate hybrid electric vehicle, plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, or battery electric vehicle technologies. Volvo’s larger 90 series and 60 series cars are to be built on SPA, and the automaker will soon launch a global range of smaller 40 series cars on CMA, the automaker said.

The T5 Twin Engine uses Volvo’s new 1.5-litre 3-cylinder engine and a new 7-speed dual clutch transmission, coupled to a 74 brake horsepower electric motor for the front-wheel drive.  An on-board battery stores about 9.7 kilowatt hours of energy.

Samuelsson didn’t respond to an interview question over whether Volvo will still be selling diesel cars in 10 years. They will be much more expensive to produce and sell in the future, he said.

“Diesels will be more expensive,” Samuelsson said. “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.

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