The diesel market continues to fall year after year at a dizzying speed. In Spain, the diesel market share was barely 12.5%, closing the year at just over 10%.
In Europe, the numbers are higher, but not by much. In 2023, 13.6% of diesel car registrations were recorded. For the first time, electric vehicles surpassed diesel and it is confirmation of a decline that has been occurring for years, with records that in 2022 still reflected a market share of more than 16%.
Political decisions, both at European and national level, with a good number of cities making things difficult for diesel, have meant that electrified vehicles have skyrocketed with gasoline gaining prominence over diesel.
All this has led some manufacturers to ensure that they will not continue developing combustion or they have set a short-term date from which all their new cars will be electric, as Opel or Mercedes have already indicated. Some engine suppliers have also rejected the idea of continuing to work on combustion engines.
But, on the contrary, Renault has been very critical of this way of acting. Already in November 2022 they announced with their roadmap for the coming years that they continued to trust in the combustion engine. Already in 2023 the first steps of Horse Project began to be taken. And now, in 2024 they confirm that they will work on a diesel engine.
With hydrogen on the horizon.
Diesel, hydrogen and combustion engines
Among all the maelstrom of announcements related to the electric car, Luca de Meo, CEO of Renault, has been one of the most critical voices of the political decisions that have been taken in recent times.
Its philosophy has always been in tune with that of Japanese manufacturers, who continue to distrust the electric car as the only solution for the future. Hence, he has defended, at least, the plug-in hybrid as an essential transition option before making the leap to the electric car.
To open alternative routes to the electric car, Renault believes it can continue to find a sufficiently powerful market in diesel and hydrogen. And that is why it has started working with the Italian Dumarey Automotive to develop a new four cylinder diesel engine and two liters of displacement through his company Horse Project, the company he set up in collaboration with Geely to develop this type of engines.
As explained in the announcement of the collaboration, the first intention is to provide commercial vehicles with this new engine so that they can adapt to the future restrictions that will come with Euro 7, which, precisely, have the main adjustment in this market, as they will leave passenger cars in almost the same situation as until now.
With the division of the company announced in 2022, Renault is trying to find the least painful way to adapt to a future in which the electric car is positioned as the main alternative on the market. Have a combustion engine division That it continues to offer propellants to customers who have an increasingly reduced supply may be a good way to alleviate the losses that, for the moment, the electric car continues to generate compared to the combustion car.
But, in addition, the agreement leaves the door open to future collaboration related to the use of hydrogen. Dumarey Group has a division called Hydrocells in which it investigates the uses of hydrogen in mobility.
Renault, for its part, has shown itself open to using the hydrogen in the future. He has even presented a prototype that would use hydrogen as an electric range extender. A solution that may make sense in the coming years, since the European Union will allow combustion engines to be sold from 2035 as long as they are neutral in carbon emissions, which can be achieved with green hydrogen.
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Photo | Renault