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37 comments

Diesel Hybrids - Finally a hybrid that makes sense?

Posted January 22, 2007 3:30 PM by stilljester

Diesel engines have long been more efficient then their petrol powered counterparts - So why haven't they be incorporated into the dual-power train models we've seen on the market so far? One word : Cost. However with tighter EU CO2 emissions coming in 2008 and again in 2012 PSA Peugeot- Citroen feels the business model for this diesel electric marriage will finally make sense. The diesel-electric hybrids will more then double the fuel economy over the same conventional gasoline model…

For more info check out this article featured in Autoweek

What do you think?

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#1

Re: Diesel Hybrids - Finally a hybrid that makes sense?

01/23/2007 2:54 AM

I cast my vote for the diesel hybrid some time ago.

it would probably make the most sense from a cost/payback perspective to start off with a version that is lean on the electric side: regenerative braking using ultra capacitors, with only a relatively small amount of battery capacity, but there are a lot of variables that depend on the volume of production of various components and their relative cost.

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#6
In reply to #1

Re: Diesel Hybrids - Finally a hybrid that makes sense?

01/23/2007 8:54 AM

I guess we'll see right - I'm with your vote but it's an even tougher sell here in the states with the negative stigma attached to diesel powered vehicles.

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#2

Re: Diesel Hybrids - Finally a hybrid that makes sense?

01/23/2007 3:31 AM

The diesel engine, by virtue of the diesel cycle(combined cycle actually), is definitely more efficient that gas engine. In many countries, diesel fuel is cheaper than gasoline/petrol. In many plant, hybrid arrangements based on diesel engine has recorded overall efficiencies approaching 90%! CHP is a good example. In marine applications (merchant vessels), the main diesel motor propels the vessel forward as its primary function, heat from its jacket water is used to produce fresh water in a fresh water generator( under vacuum condition-need less heat input this way). It's exhaust gas drives turbocharger (based on some simple calculation, at optimum/maximum continous rating, this can be upto 30-40% of the engine power itself). after that the same gas (now with much less heat content) is passed through an Exhaust Gas Economiser(it's a boiler!) which produces steam and it is this steam that supplies all the heat requirements of the vessel while underway!

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#3

Re: Diesel Hybrids - Finally a hybrid that makes sense?

01/23/2007 3:38 AM

As traffic speeds become lower, and more vehicles spend more time stationary in traffic jams, using the electric motor at low speed with top-up power from the diesel makes more sense in terms of CO2 emissions. Its time has come.

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#4

Re: Diesel Hybrids - Finally a hybrid that makes sense?

01/23/2007 4:17 AM

What is an pure electric car known as the most effective?

I.e. mileasge before batterry's full recharge?

Full payload and weight?

AC or DC motor(s)?

Some I have seen in Los Angeles for a few tears but.... are too expensive.

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#5

Re: Diesel Hybrids - Finally a hybrid that makes sense?

01/23/2007 8:26 AM

I drive through the mountains to get to work, stilljester. Lots of climbing and coasting involved. Under these driving conditions, would a diesel hybrid make a good choice? Whenver I read about cars that are "more efficient", I have to wonder if the stated city and highway fuel-efficiency numbers apply to my situation.

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#7
In reply to #5

Re: Diesel Hybrids - Finally a hybrid that makes sense?

01/23/2007 9:04 AM

IMO - if you were to have your own pick of a hybrid combination, a diesel hybrid would be hands down be the best choice. Diesel engines are great for producing high torque at low RPM. So in that way they compliment an electric motor quite well giving the vehicle the power to start moving/climb hills etc before switching to electric power. The really question is would this technology ever make it to the states? On a global scale we are very late adaptors to diesel vehicles and only utilize them in a small percentage of applications.

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#14
In reply to #5

Re: Diesel Hybrids - Finally a hybrid that makes sense?

01/24/2007 3:12 PM

Moose:

An excellent point Steve.

Long hilly and/or mountainous routes changes the energy equation for hybrids quite a bit, in terms of maximum needed IC engine power, energy storage capacity, and the related added weight issues and trade offs.

I've never heard it specifically addressed.

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#8

Re: Diesel Hybrids - Finally a hybrid that makes sense?

01/23/2007 9:29 AM

Dear Stilljester,

your comment - "- even tougher sell here in the states with the negative stigma attached to diesel powered vehicles."

What sort of stigma are you talking about?? How did it happen?

I have had 5 Turbodiesel cars in my life since 1986, all of them were fantastic!!! and each one was better than the one before!!!

Plus all the wellknown good points, a further one that many forget, whereas petrol (Benzin or Gas depending upon where you live...) can catch fire down to about -65°C (if I remember correctly), Diesel will only burn on its own once it is at +40°C or higher, over 100°C difference! Which makes it a lot less dangerous in an accident than Petrol.... and every little helps!!

(my °C values are from memory only, do not quibble if I am a few degrees out, its the principal of the thing!!)

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#9
In reply to #8

Re: Diesel Hybrids - Finally a hybrid that makes sense?

01/23/2007 10:25 AM

Andy,

Ah the good times you've missed here in the states.

Disclaimer: The following is a very high level summary of "Diesel" in the US.

Diesel passenger cars have never been as popular here in the US as in Germany/Europe. I'd say it initially started with our own design preference - petrol powered cars have always been the norm since automotive manufacturing started here. Before importing foreign cars became the standard practice that exists today- we just weren't producing a diesel engine. As a result the fuel distribution network in many areas mirrored this fact & only gasoline is offered at many local pumps. Even today unless you're on a major interstate used by truckers finding a diesel pump can be tough.

The other large event which contributed to the negative stigma my people have towards diesel cars happened in the 1970's. GM in an effort to help the consumers through the gas crunch equipped their passenger car with a "diesel" engine. The problem was they didn't have 100+ years of diesel experience to call on. So they essentially mounted a higher compression diesel head to their standard gasoline block. I'm sure you can see where this is going.....The cars ran great so about 50,000 miles with the bottom end which was designed to handle a much lower (8:1 – let's say) compression ratio failed; (spun bearings, split blocks, burnt rings etc etc) Also to complicate things is complete lack of development of glow plugs which gave poor winter starting – coupled with a consumer group who has no understanding of diesel fuels properties in the winter ( Read: Gels if untreated) So the knee jerk reaction of the US consumer is the "diesel engines" are lousy - they smoke, break down etc. Farther adding insult to injury was a dealer/mechanic network that up until now had be replacing distributor caps and adjusting points so a mechanical timed system such as a diesel engine was completely foreign to some degree and couldn't be worked on by just anyone.

I've owned over 14 diesels myself from diesels myself but in the US I'd still say passenger car TD's are still a bit of a cult following.

What can I say here in the states the 'masses' love their automatic transmission equipped gasoline engine cars – something I can't quite understand.

~stilljester

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#10
In reply to #8

Re: Diesel Hybrids - Finally a hybrid that makes sense?

01/23/2007 10:30 AM

your comment - "- even tougher sell here in the states with the negative stigma attached to diesel powered vehicles."

What sort of stigma are you talking about?? How did it happen?

Basically, in a move somewhat similar to VW's "converting" a gasoline engine to Diesel by increasing compression, changing the head, etc. but keeping the block and some other components. General Motors tried to convert a large V8. Unlike the VW block, it lacked adequate strength for the bearings, and tended to become a smelly, smoke-belching slug in a fairly short time. Even when parked, it was possible to recognize some by the black rear body surfaces on an otherwise, say, silver truck - the soot deposited that thickly. Many had engines replaced, but even so they had inadequate lifespans. The maketing departments of our automakers, until very recently, had the clout to force many Diesel-powered trucks to be very noisy, to imply that they were powerful.

Additionally, our Diesel fuel is (chemically) far more difficult to use while controlling emissions with catalytic converters. For a long while, the fuel was often only available at truck stops, making cars more inconvenient in many areas.

Disclosure: I have a VW Rabbit Diesel in my shed, in running condition, and I know from direct experience that it does not suffer the black smoke problem - but it only has about 180,000 miles / 300,000 km on it. I'm actually looking for a TDI-equipped car to buy. Not EVERYONE was misled by the GM fiasco.

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#11

Re: Diesel Hybrids - Finally a hybrid that makes sense?

01/23/2007 11:05 AM

I think I'm gonna cry! I . . . I . . I . . love diesels. Greg G. and I had many talks about this very subject and he is spot on that diesel hybrids make sense. Too bad even the gas versions are difficult to pay out over 8 years (the battery warranty period . . . you better hope you have a warranty failure on batteries at year 7.9 'cuz the batteries will set you back many thousands of $$$). Diesel fuel has more heat value (energy potential) that gasoline.

Why are diesels had to sell in USA? Because, sorry to say, most of us here are not as open minded as Europeans when it comes to alternative energy and costs. Europeans have been paying the same amount per liter (litre . . . sorry) as we pay per gallon for years, so they need to think different. And USA our stigma is diesels are for trucks and busses with ugly black smoke (forget for a moment that the ugly black smoke is chemically cleaner than gasoline emissions . . . we can see diesel smoke, so we HATE THEM !). Or big noisy Ford F-350 with a cattle trailer on the back . . . . not something you would take to the opera. And those ugly dirty diesel nozzles at the gas station (petrol bunk . . sorry); the diesel doesn't evaporate quick so the drops left on the nozzle collect dirt and it looks ugly ! We need to grow up in the USA and embrace diesel technology. It also takes less energy to make diesel fuel than gasoline.

Why are they noisy and expensive? The peak firing pressure of a diesel engine is much higher than a gas engine so there is your 'knock' noise. Therefore the engine must be more robust to handle the high firing pressure (heavy = cost = more power to move heavy mass = larger engine, bla bla bla). And these heavy robust parts can't turn as fast (G forces) and the peak torque and peak power curve (due to ignition delay) is different than gasoline, diesels have lower RPM (torque higher) and since power is related to the square of the speed you need a larger engine now just due to lower RPM = weight = cost , bla, bla. And the injection pump produces 20,000 - 30,000 psig pressure (1300 - 2000 barg . . . sorry) and is turned by the cam shaft (big expensive gears, injection pump and injectors) so more power is need to turn this injector cam, not present in gasoline cars, so larger engine = heavy = cost, bla bla bla.

To the fellow that drives up and down mountains, hybrids would be perfect as long as you REALLY drive it right adding time to your commute. The down hills are where you charge your batteries from the motor becoming a generator (go to "How Stuff Works .com" and type in "Hybrid Cars") and the 'brakes' are the load of the generator. The disc brakes cause heat (wasted energy) so the idea is to NEVER use your brakes so hard that the disc brakes take over for the generator load and you get full benefit of the coast down inertia you built up by accelerating your mass (energy expense).

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#12

Re: Diesel Hybrids - Finally a hybrid that makes sense?

01/23/2007 12:57 PM

Diesel has always been popular in the Us with farmers and construction industry for their pickup trucks. Diesel cars have never been popular with the yuppies and soccer moms who are seeking image, status and something they perceive as simple (not actually the case). Additionally, Diesel contributes to particulate matter issues , it has been implicated in the air quality problems associated with 4 of the 5 worst polluted counties in the US. Diesel derived from oil has extremely carcinogenic PAHs associated with it, thus particulate is of concern. Now hydrid with Biodiesel would be the way to go. Biodiesel good way to use food production oil wastes that cause problems for municipal wastewater systems, and not get the particulate PAHs. But would this increase the level of SMUG, eventually leading to that Perfect SMUG storm i have heard about.

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#13
In reply to #12

Re: Diesel Hybrids - Finally a hybrid that makes sense?

01/24/2007 2:58 PM

I agree 100% on the bio-diesel. I should have mentioned that because it is so much more practical and energy efficient to produce than ethanol.

A lot of the particulate issues have to do with the U.S. diesel fuel being so "dirty", and until just recently, having very high sulfur content which fouled catalyctic convertors and exhaust filters. With "clean" diesel fuel and proper exhaust treatment, I believe the last remaining issue to be addressed is nitrous oxides. One of the beautiful things about the diesel is, that if you can get "it" into the cylinder, it will burn, then it becomes a question of what modifications are necessary to optimize efficiency and treat the exhaust. Rudolph Diesel even experimented with coal dust (not that that is viable in today's engines).

The diesel fuel analogy to gasoline octane number is the cetane number although their meaning is somewhat opposite, regarding autoignition.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cetane_number

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#15
In reply to #13

Re: Diesel Hybrids - Finally a hybrid that makes sense?

01/25/2007 6:30 AM

A Range Rover recently observed had the legend "this vehicle is a vegetarian" attached to it, indicating its preference for biodiesel as a fuel. All that is needed is to add hybrid electric technology to it and off it will go: sustainable road transport of sufficient internal volume to satisfy the biggest pizza-hungry occupant. It will probably be available in left-hand-drive...

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#16

Re: Diesel Hybrids - Finally a hybrid that makes sense?

01/25/2007 7:46 AM

What a disscussion!

What a discussion!

Started with "regular" diesel fuel and introduced "biogas"!

What about HYDROGEN (H2)?

My US experience with diesel "stigma" began with the strong headaches driving behind US school busses.

I had an opportunity to drive behind diesel cars in Europe (small Belgium, larger Germany). I got a headache again but not as fast as in USA. Is this an indication of much healthy diesel fuel standards in EU?

I drove myself VW diesel in Western EU (Holland, France, Spain) that had a fuel consumption digital indicator and I got unbelieved 4 liters per 100 km! You may recalculate it to miles per gallon (USA way to show car/motor efficiency) to tell me I am a liar, right?

Again I heard that somewhere in USA a hybrid car with hydrogen enhancement reached almost 200 miles per gallon. I know nothing about its engine etc. but is it not a way to power future cars?

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#17
In reply to #16

Re: Diesel Hybrids - Finally a hybrid that makes sense?

01/25/2007 7:55 AM

Hydrogen is a secondary fuel - an energy carrier like electricity. The energy needed to make and distribute it must come from somewhere

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#18
In reply to #16

Re: Diesel Hybrids - Finally a hybrid that makes sense?

01/25/2007 9:08 AM

Currently no large scale consumer distribution network for hydrogen gas in the United States exists. Due to this I feel the market barriers are high at this point to consider hydrogen a real alternative. (Read: $$$$$) Also there would a need to completely reeducation of the public in regards to fuel/driving of hydrogen vehicles. While there is a negative stigma associated with Diesel vehicles I feel this would be much easier to over come, then an entirely new fuel source.

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#19

Re: Diesel Hybrids - Finally a hybrid that makes sense?

01/25/2007 9:39 AM

Hydrogen.....

You may buy a kit for about $900 for a car.

New aproch to control made a lawnmower powered in this way is discribed in this (same) CR4. Of course a goat is another good mower-vegeterian solution!

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#20
In reply to #19

Re: Diesel Hybrids - Finally a hybrid that makes sense?

01/25/2007 9:51 AM

"Hydrogen.....

You may buy a kit for about $900 for a car."

What sort of "kit"? Something that converts the car to run hydrogen? A hydrogen generator that's carried along and supposed to supplement gasoline? One that offers a fuel-injector replacement and all the controlling devices, sensors, tank & filler neck, plumbing, manifolds, etc? Source of kit? What cars is it available for? Or is it a kit for a home-base H2 generator, and you're on your own for getting it into the car? If it's a conversion for the car to run H2, where are you supposed to fuel up when on the road, given that there are only a handful of experimental stations in existence? This comment raised more questions than it answered . . .

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#21

Re: Diesel Hybrids - Finally a hybrid that makes sense?

01/25/2007 10:14 AM

Ron..

search Internet for example "car electrolyzer kit" or similar.

You will find so many of them from car-toys to regular car powering.

If in serious interest try to investigate: http://www.knowledgepublications.com/google_hydrogen_2_GW2H2_H2car_H2DVD_H2civ_S2D.htm?gclid=CI2pmevr-4kCFSEqUAodQg9vCA

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#22

Re: Diesel Hybrids - Finally a hybrid that makes sense?

01/29/2007 9:29 AM

I thought I would add my pen'orth to the discusion on hybrids. As aforementioned, diesels are economical (at low loads and speeds!) but "clatter" and produce particulates. Whilst diesel cars can have a good performance (speed, acceleration), if you use that performance to the full the fuel efficiency falls quite dramatically. Hence the almost universal use of petrol engines in sports cars.

On hybrids, my thoughts are that gas turbine electric could be the way to go. If as much effort was put into developing a small gas tubine as has been put into developing existing infernal combustion engines (my deliberate mis-spelling!), their efficiency could be much improved. Their light weight would offset the weight of the necessary electric motors and batteries.

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#23
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Re: Diesel Hybrids - Finally a hybrid that makes sense?

01/29/2007 11:02 AM

Thanks for joining the discussion

I'd like to take exception to several comments - diesels are extremely economical at high load. (Or did you mean RPM?) The torque a diesel engine produces is why there used in high load applications from large trucks to tug boats.

What do you mean by "clatter"?

While I agree petrol engines in sports car tend to be norm they are by no means superior. While running a diesel engine at high RPM does create a drop in fuel economy this is no where close to that of a petrol powered vehicle. Recently Audi released its TDI powered R10 race car and finished the season undefeated. Turning more then a few heads by not only going undefeated but with a diesel engine - one of the biggest keys to success? Increased fuel economy over is competitors

Audi R10 TDI (Audi Website)

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#24
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Re: Diesel Hybrids - Finally a hybrid that makes sense?

01/29/2007 9:47 PM

Al, diesel engines are extremely efficient when run at specific(read fixed) load and rpm. at any given load, efficiency is a function of avaialble air(optimum quantity), pressure(basic cycle), temp. just before fuel is injected and distance piston moves to extract power from the heat/pressure energy(stroke). Obviously, there are practical limitation to all of the above. This is also very true for gas. engines.

This is also why there is variable valve timing system now on most makes of car engines(gas). Concept/knowhow has been around, along time - it's the material vs cost issue mainly that stopped/slowed its implemenation till now.

Parallel progress is definitely on for diesel engines(a little slow to adapt though), especially in the marine industry, where reliability(read industry proven) is far more important. Catepillar(expensive, but beautiful engines!) and a few other european makes are doing great work on this. Basically, it's common rail and electronic control fuel injection systems, valve timings doesn't need changing much as such diesel engines run at fixed or very narrow rpm bands, i.e.: gen-sets, propulsion, etc. whereby only load changes.

I feel turbo based hybrids are a great idea too, Chrysler once fielded a car at Le-Mans, some time ago - ..went completely quite after that! It's based on turbo-genset, flywheel based buffer and high speed electric motors. I think that is a beautiful set-up, except that I prefer compressed air storage, you could easily channel this to another burner-power turbine setup to extract power.(such CAES systems are in op. in Germany and States- not too many!) The first set would mainly operate on on-off mode. It's far more efficient that way,plus gas turbines work best within a narrow op. range.

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#25

Re: Diesel Hybrids - Finally a hybrid that makes sense?

01/30/2007 3:16 AM

I agree completely, Audi has shown the way, Diesels can be used in varying modes (not just fixed one speed!!) and win races partly through fuel economy and partly through performance!

Well done Audi.

With regards to particles, here at least (Germany and most other European countries) we have not only the car manufacturers producing diesel exhaust filters, but a myriad of other companies, with many, many man-years of experience doing the same thing.

A Diesel engine with a filter is a very clean machine (as the Beatles would have said).

Petrol engines, in spite of the Catalysator, spread some poisonous metals around the whole countryside (no metal in a Diesel Cat/Filter!!) as well as producing other unwanted chemicals and gases.

Diesel exhaust cleaning is not perfect, but it is getting there fast and the fuel (at least in most of europe) is cheaper than Petrol and you need less for a given journey.......(assuming similar car etc).

The need to reduce the sulphur content to a minimum will soon improve the cleaning powers of the filters, especially with regard to certain gases - its coming Guys!

Also, the ability to burn cheap recycled Chip oil, or even new salad oil, means that if you wish, you can completely avoid fuel taxes!!!! I have not gone that way, mostly due to laziness... ...yet!

And do not forget that in an accidental spillage, it burns a lot less easily.........safety is also better! Try setting fire to diesel or salad oil - try NOT setting fire to spilled Petrol!!!

I have had 5 diesel cars, both European & Japanese, I will not use anything else.

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#26
In reply to #25

Re: Diesel Hybrids - Finally a hybrid that makes sense?

01/30/2007 9:11 AM

Now if only you'd ship a couple of those fine diesel's over here to the states

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#27
In reply to #26

Re: Diesel Hybrids - Finally a hybrid that makes sense?

01/30/2007 11:19 AM

stilljester,

We should start seeing some of them soon. The major impediment was our high sulfur diesel fouled the emissions equipment need to achieve clean air standards. Why the EPA allowed dirty diesel fuel for so long baffles me, although its safe to assume politics and lobbysists had a lot to do with it.

A to an earlier mention of the GM diesel fiasco: This had everything to do with Detroit's arrogant attitude that they knew better than anyone else. At the time, Detroit Diesel was a division of GM, and while their diesels were 2 stroke cycle, they had all the diesel expertise to allow for a great design of 4 strokes for automobiles. Certainly as regards ruggedness. But the car guys "knew better". This arrogant attitude played out over and over, whenever Detroit "introduced" something that was a relatively perfected technology in other parts of the world: think disk brakes, front wheel drive, aluminum heads and blocks, all of which they screwed up royally at first (for those who remember).

Greg

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#28
In reply to #27

Re: Diesel Hybrids - Finally a hybrid that makes sense?

01/30/2007 1:31 PM

Low sulfur diesel couldn't happen soon enough - I agree it's amazing but not the least surprising it took this long to get it to happen.

It almost comical in a way how arrogance can ruin or delay a lot of good things. I still don't believe diesel will become an expected mainstream fuel alternative in the short term. The availability and marketing campaigns for diesel powered passenger cars needs to be beefed up considerably here in the states before it will become a reality.

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#29

Re: Diesel Hybrids - Finally a hybrid that makes sense?

01/30/2007 5:57 PM

...once low sulphur diesel oil appears in the USA, I guess the european (and some japanese) makes will overrun you Guys......

By the sound of it, its your own fault too.....

If you have never driven a modern diesel car, you have a fantastic experience still waiting!!

By the way, forget the automatic gearbox, with a modern diesel that is almost (95%)a waste of money!!!!!

Modern diesels pull from 1000 RPM like wild horses with pepper up their nether regions........upto about 4000 to 4500 for the next gear.....if you are in a hurry, or just drop it into 4th from 2nd and then 6th.......if you are not....

OH, you don't have 6 forward speed gearboxes for diesels in the USA, how sad!!

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#30
In reply to #29

Re: Diesel Hybrids - Finally a hybrid that makes sense?

01/30/2007 6:07 PM

Don't worry VW and Mercedes have still given us a couple nice diesel models. Unfortunately VW only gives us the 90 hp of the 1.9l and we don't get any of the sweet 6 cylinder/turbo engines.

An automatic transmission on a diesel? Say it any so!!

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#35
In reply to #29

Re: Diesel Hybrids - Finally a hybrid that makes sense?

02/08/2007 11:27 AM

Actually, Andy, we've had some great diesels here, from Mercedes, VW, and (years ago) Peugeot. The Mercedes diesels are superb cars, and from inside, you'd never know you were in a diesel (and from outside, even the standard clatter is barely noticeable). The VW TDI Jetta is also a great car which performs very much like the normally aspirated gas equivalent (not the GTI version) and in normal usage, gets the same fuel efficiency as a Prius. But... the Jettas don't sell here in large numbers -- in fact, last year for every 3 Priuses sold, one Jetta diesel was sold. But even the Prius is a niche player. The Mercedes diesels make up a very small part of Mercedes sales here (guessing: 5%)

The Prius is seen as something of a phenomenon here -- very high visibility. But it sold about 80,000 units last year, and some say sales have leveled. Here are sales numbers for all hybrids sold in US. Compare this to the 900,000 Ford F150 pickups sold!!!!! Sadly, for fuel-efficient cars to sell here in any really significant market numbers, buyers have to give a hoot -- and most in the US do not. I'm afraid it's that simple. Right behind the F150 is the Chevy Silverado, another huge pickup, and there are SUV's and minivans rounding out the top ten big sellers. The only bright spot in this is that at least the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord (largish by European standards, but smallish here) both sell very well, at around 300,000 units each (and both are in the top ten).

Americans have very short memories. Fuel is now back to $2/gal. and people are consuming it just as they always have. For diesels to make real inroads here, I'd think we'd have to see very prolonged prices of $4.00 (a bit more than $1.00/liter)

If logic ruled here, everyone would be driving Jettas and Priuses, with an occasional large vehicle thrown in where really needed.

Automatics are essential (for marketing) here. Imagine driving while talking on the cell phone, drinking your morning coffee, feeding the kid in the back seat while trying to shift. Manual transmissions are available in many cars, (and not available in any minivan) but are mainly limited to the few who like them (me) and to sports/sporting cars. Almost all pickup trucks ad SUVs are automatic, because people like to imagine towing things, (and actually do tow a lot of stuff) in which case, automatics are recommended by the manufacturers, to avoid driveline shock and clutch abuse.

For most Americans, car purchases are all about status, fitting in with a particular group, etc. The market research people have the market segments very clearly defined, with (for example) 3 distinct and different "types" buying Mercedes, Volvo, and BMW (which have some models that are very close in every respect -- c 230 S60, and 330i, for example). Frankly, I'd be embarrassed to be seen in a large SUV, but for most buyers, they like what such a vehicles say about them, and no rational argument re fuel efficiency will win them over.

I'm developing a vehicle for the X prize competition, and hardest part of the project will be to make people truly want such a thing (a 100 mpg+ vehicle). The engineering is the simple part.

But there are some bright spots: Chrysler sold double the expected number of Liberty diesels!. Also, diesel sales are expected to account for 10% of sales by 2015 (a three fold increase from 2005). In the heavy duty pickup truck market, diesels already sell well -- the "macho" image is a plus rather than a negative.

An interesting point made in the last article, is that given a choice, in the car market, almost half the buyers here opt for a diesel. I think that's actually a little misleading, because virtually everyone looking for a diesel goes to VW. If all the manufacturers offered diesels, I think the ratio would be lower (as evidenced by the current 3.6% market share). But I could be entirely wrong -- maybe if there were a wide choice of diesels, people would catch on, as they have in Europe.

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#31

Re: Diesel Hybrids - Finally a hybrid that makes sense?

01/31/2007 10:44 AM

I would vote for alba16384 solution.... almost completely electrical car.

No fume at all, no noise, possible simpler power transmission, safety, etc.

Golf car could be a good "propaganda" if they will be far away to be toys.

Somebody from California is to tell us about them?

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#32

Re: Diesel Hybrids - Finally a hybrid that makes sense?

02/01/2007 12:48 AM

VW I know best, they took the 1.9 TDI to 150 BHP for the Golf, there is also a 2.0TDI, which I like even better, though I believe that it only goes to max 140 BHP in some models. I have had this motor in my last 2 cars with 136BHP.

My present car is a Mitsubishi Grandis, (yes with the 2.0 TDI motor from VW), the car weighs in at over 1750KG, but is still very fast and easy to drive and uses on a run on the German Autobahn, average aprox 90MPH, 6-7 liters of Diesel per 100 Kilometers. Very economical.

If you want me to convert anything to US values from metric, just let me know exactly what.....

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#33
In reply to #32

Re: Diesel Hybrids - Finally a hybrid that makes sense?

02/01/2007 8:08 AM

Last time I was in Germany I rented an A2 with the 1.4TDI. Styling side I was impressed with that engine. Even driving at over 100MPH for extended periods I remember the fuel consumption being surprisingly good.

No need to convert anything to "US values" for me - But if you can ship me an M51 TDS engine I'd appreciate it.

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#34
In reply to #33

Re: Diesel Hybrids - Finally a hybrid that makes sense?

02/01/2007 9:29 AM

If we can convince Andy to ship TDI engines from Germany to the States, I'll put in a request for one from the Audi R10 - I mean, sure, I'll need a really big shoehorn, but . . .WOW!

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#36

Re: Diesel Hybrids - Finally a hybrid that makes sense?

03/04/2007 10:39 AM

diesel performance is where it's at to increase mileage, combine that with biodiesel and u have a great mileage/cost vehicle

ford diesel performance , chevy diesel performance and dodge diesel performance all can stand to gain mileage, and I think there are quite a few companies working on methods of doing this even hybrid adaptation, which i'm sure will be very expensive

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#37

Re: Diesel Hybrids - Finally a hybrid that makes sense?

03/06/2007 3:39 AM

With regards to BIO Diesel, be carefull, although BIO Diesel appears to be supported by most of the major Diesel car manufacturers, some do not support you if and when you start to get problems. Many cases have been reported in the press over the last couple of years in Germany.

Also, I had a VW car, with a 2.0 TDI and a seperate heating system that burnt Diesel to warm up the car and engine water system (I have not got a clue what these are called in English, there are petrol/Gas versions as well!) to make life comfortable in winter! the engine could use BIO Diesel, but the heater could not.......VW bought them in without properly checking......

If you are not aware of the problems, some rubber gaskets and seals are attacked by the BIO Diesel and do not do their job after a few months, it costs a lot of money to make a Diesel engine BIO-Proof!! I believe BIO Diesel is made from Rape seed oil.

I never use BIO Diesel, except for the small amount that is now mixed into normal Diesel anyway......often Diesel is cheaper than BIO Diesel in Germany, anyway.....

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