The German automaker’s upcoming new generation of the Polo – coming in 2018 on the same platform as the Seat Ibiza – will see the introduction of mild hybrids in lieu of a planned new generation of small diesel engines.
The family of diesel engines that was planned until now has been recently abandoned due to the tougher CO2 regulations in Europe, an expected decline in demand and the aftermath of the Dieselgate scandal. VW has axed the development of a turbo 1.5 liter four cylinder planned for the sixth generation Polo and will instead offer a new petrol-electric mild hybrid derivative. The new aluminum block high-pressure common rail unit should have been part of the new strategy for small engines next to the newly introduced turbocharged 1.5-litre four-cylinder direct injection petrol drivetrain seen on the facelifted Golf.
The increased development costs, together with the new CO2 and NOx emission standards, as well as lower demand in the B segment for diesels – and the aftermath of the Dieselgate scandal – has convinced Volkswagen to engineer small capacity petrol-electric hybrid units, according to Frank Welsch, the automaker’s chief of research and development. “In a time not so far away, people will go for petrol engines in combination with a mild hybrid,” he explained. “A mild hybrid, in the end, is cheaper and has the same CO2 (as a small capacity diesel) with a lot less NOx,” he added. “In most cases, it will be a 48-volt system for recuperation. Our latest system develops four times as much energy in recuperation,” continues the executive.