Toyota Drops Diesels

Toyota is dropping diesels but Mercedes is still willing to kill humans with its dirty diesels
Toyota is dropping diesels but Mercedes is still willing to kill humans with its dirty diesels

The diesel’s fall from grace in Europe, where it has long been a mainstay of the car market, has been quick in the aftermath of the Volkswagen diesel scandal. And last week at the Geneva auto show, Toyota also announced that it will be phasing out all diesel engines from its passenger-car lineup in Europe this year.

Demand for diesels in Europe is falling rapidly, slipping from about 50 percent of the passenger-car market in 2017 to about 44 percent this year and anticipated to fall to 30 percent in 2020. At Toyota, hybrids now make up 41 percent of sales across Europe and nearly 80 percent of sales for the C-HR crossover. Toyota said that the new generation of the Auris—the region’s version of the Corolla—will be offered only in hybrid and gasoline versions.

Toyota wasn’t alone in making it official. Honda also clarified at the Geneva show that it will effectively be replacing its much touted diesel 1.6-liter i-DTEC engine with a hybrid powertrain in the CR-V. Project leader Takaaki Nagadome told the U.K. Telegraph newspaper, “It’s a trend in the market we cannot ignore."

But not everyone is in a rush to abandon the technology. Mercedes-Benz revealed a diesel plug-in hybrid version of its C-class, bearing the EQ Power badge, an offshoot of the EQ sub-brand of electric vehicles set to arrive starting next year. Mercedes-Benz notes that this is the first time the automaker has paired a diesel engine with a plug-in hybrid system. It uses a nine-speed automatic transmission, the larger 13.5-kWh battery pack, and a 90-kW motor system supplying an extra 295 lb-ft of torque, for a total electric range that could top 20 miles by the stricter, world-harmonized (WLTP) standards.

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