With diesels accounting for about half of new-car sales in parts of Europe alongside growing air-pollution problem on the continent, some politicos are looking to curb diesel sales or put a ban on them outright. The reason is that, while massive advancements have been made in diesel powertrain technology in the recent past, there's no getting around the fact that the engines continue to emit nitrogen oxides and particulates, or soot.
One way to minimize that environmental and health damage is to add small electric motors to diesel vehicles says ex-Ford engineer and current Johnson Controls executive Tom Watson, speaking to Automotive News. Electric motors can be used for stop-start functionality and take some the acceleration load off of the diesel engines.
Some European automakers have already gotten the message. Late last year, Automotive News reported that Audi may start producing a diesel-powered plug-in hybrid version of the Q7 SUV and Volvo has been making a diesel plug-in hybrid version of the V60 wagon since late 2012.