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Volvo ditching diesel engines

By CONAL URQUHART | China Daily Europe | Updated: 2017-05-19 11:19

Volvo, which is owned by China's Geely, will not develop any new diesel cars because the cost of reducing nitrogen oxide emissions is too great, according to the company's chief executive.

Hakan Samuelsson told the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that Volvo will instead invest in hybrid and electric cars, with its first all-electric car going on sale in 2019.

Geely, which also owns the London Taxi Company, recently opened a new plant to produce electric and hybrid taxis in Coventry, England.

Volvo has done well out of diesel. Ninety percent of its XC 90 cars are diesel but they may not be welcome in cities for much longer. London is among many cities planning to introduce new charges for most diesel cars that are brought into the city center.

While diesel cars produce less carbon dioxide than petrol cars, they create far more nitrogen oxide, which is damaging to health. The reputation of diesel cars was further damaged when it emerged that several companies, most notably Volkswagen, had falsified emissions data about their diesel models.

Samuelsson later tried to clarify his remarks in a statement.

"We have just launched a brand new generation of petrol and diesel engines, highlighting our commitment to this technology. As a result, a decision on the development of a new generation of diesel engines is not required," he said.

In April, diesel sales fell by 27.3 percent in the UK, partly because of fears that the government plans to tax diesel vehicles more heavily. Sales of petrol cars also fell, but only by 13 percent.

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