After stopping development in 2018, the oil burner is officially going to be killed off early next year.
At Climate Week NYC, Volvo officially declared that it will be ending production of diesel powertrains by early 2024. This is the next step towards Volvo's reinvention as an all-electric brand by 2030 and climate neutrality by 2040. While Volvo hasn't sold diesel engines in the USA for a number of years, models like the XC60 and XC90 still benefited from diesel powertrains in other markets. In 2019, the bulk of Volvos sold in Europe were diesel-powered.
The Volvo S60 was the first model to be announced without a diesel powertrain option, with then-CEO Hakan Samuelsson declaring, "Our future is electric, and we will no longer develop a new generation of diesel engines. 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."
Now, the final phase of that declaration is underway.
Last year, Volvo ended the development of all new combustion powertrains and in November 2022 it sold its stake in Aurobay, the joint venture that had the last of Volvo's combustion engine assets.
The demise of diesel at Volvo brings to a close an era that began in 1979 when Volvo licensed 2.0-liter diesel engines from Volkswagen for use in the Volvo 240. This was a trend that lasted well into the 2000s, with Volvo only developing its own diesel powertrains from 2001. Volvo's diesel motors were unique in that they were available as 2.4-liter inline fives, boasting a unique soundtrack and an abundance of torque.
In 2013, Volvo switched over to its new Drive-E modular engine architecture with downsized three- and four-cylinder diesel motors and even had the world's first plug-in hybrid diesel powertrain in a Volvo V60. However, in 2018, Volvo announced a halt to diesel development.
For Americans, nothing will change, as the brand still remains committed to its current lineup of turbocharged, twincharged, and hybridized gasoline engines in its core model lineup, with electric models like the new Volvo EX30 and EX90 making the switch to full electrification.
Jim Rowan, Volvo's current CEO, has once again reiterated that "Electric powertrains are our future, and superior to combustion engines: they generate less noise, less vibration, less servicing costs for our customers and zero tailpipe emissions. We're fully focused on creating a broad portfolio of premium, fully electric cars that deliver on everything our customers expect from a Volvo - and are a key part of our response to climate change."
In addition to the aforementioned models, Volvo is planning a fully electric lineup later this decade with the next model in line being the EM90 electric luxury minivan.