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New VW Golf and Polo hybrid tech could be the end of diesel

Diesel engines in small cars could have had their day, as VW readies clever mild hybrid tech to boost its petrol engines’ efficiency.

The new 48-volt electrical system with boosted battery will improve petrol engines’ emissions by between six and eight g/km of CO2, according to VW’s development boss Dr Frank Welsch. Combined with the added cost required to get diesel engines through tougher emissions tests, this could make diesel powered small cars a thing of the past.

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“Today diesel engines are more expensive [than petrol engines] and this distance is going to grow as we have to work to tougher standards,” said Dr Welsch. “We have enough customers for diesel in cars like Polo now, but that might not be the case forever.”

“A 48-volt mild hybrid would work on Polo and Golf,” Dr Welsch confirmed. “It offers better recuperation and near silent start/stop so you don’t feel the engine cutting out and starting. With a cruising function also you will achieve savings starting at around six to eight g/km of CO2 and in real-life conditions.”

New VW MQB platform variant for Polo

Dr Welsch also revealed details of the new variant of the VW MQB platform, which has already formed the basis of 58 models across the group and eight million vehicles sold. MQB A0 will underpin 2017’s new VW Polo and then be used across the group’s small cars with next generation SEAT Ibiza, Skoda Fabia and a range of smaller SUVs set to use the new platform.

As well as weight and cost benefits, MQB A0 also brings a range of advanced driver assistance technologies that haven’t yet been seen on small cars. It’ll also mean that vehicles as diverse as the Polo and the five meter-long VW Atlas SUV will be built on MQB platforms, with length differences of over one meter. 

VW bosses have also hinted at the need to fill the gap between next year’s even larger Polo and the up! city car, although it might not wear a VW badge. VW has confirmed two further group brands – one to be used in emerging markets and one for its smart mobility solutions – but Skoda and SEAT offerings are also expected to fill that gap.

Do you think small diesel cars will become a thing of the past? Let us know in the comments… 

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