Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The future of diesel in America

Some recent news bring promises of a more successful future for diesels in the North-American continent. Of course, the raise of fuel prices is a big contributor for making people looking at alternatives. Amongst these, diesel is a very interesting one, but the lack of quality fuel, public perception and stringent emission laws have prevented its widespread use. Also, some of the available diesel cars were not very good. For example, the VW Jetta, is very noisy and its “pump-deuse” technology is not refined or reliable. Fortunately, that will change in the next three years.

The luxury crowd, namely Mercedes, will be the first to arrive with sophisticated common-rail technology, a newly-developed NOx adsorber in the E320CDI, (a catalytic device that converts NOx to nitrogen) and a urea-based injection system (GL320CDI). Mercedes will have this technology ready for the market in order to meet the next California LEV II LEV and EPA Tier 2 Bin 5 diesel emissions requirements in the US. BMW is also developing these technologies for a 2008 introduction and others will follow. This means a fresh restart for diesel and having as leaders the top manufacturers.

But even more interesting is the promise that Honda will have ready by then a different technology, an electric-powered plasma reactor that can meet future emission standards, place diesels at the same level of gasoline engines for NOx emissions, and doing all this without recurring to urea tanks that need to be refilled. This is the most interesting news about diesel so far. Honda is a very important player in the mainstream market in the USA and the promise of such technology means that competitive, refined cars will be available from a market leader.

Let’s clarify the relevance of these news. The commitment of Mercedes and BMW will bring image, status and credibility to diesel cars, in a way never before achieved in the North-American (NA) markets. And this is important to change public perception about diesels. But also Honda’s developments will make this technology affordable by everyone. The commitment of such a respectable mainstream player and the top luxury manufacturers means that the diesel future is for real. The boom of diesel in NA will happen!

How is this relevant to you? The American readers might consider this information for a car purchase in the next 2 to 3 years. And of course, if you check the top of this page you will notice the words “Auto” and “Future”. That’s what this is all about. This “Future” is particularly relevant for the American manufacturers. Are they preparing for this events? Will Ford, GM and Chrysler have a response ready for this new developments from the competition? This time, they better be ready! Of course, Chrysler is in a good position due to the association with Mercedes. Ford can engineer a good response due to its liaison with diesel-specialist PSA in Europe. And GM is in trouble because of their poor diesel offers, even in Europe - the only good Opel diesels have Fiat sourced engines…

Outline of Honda's system

Mercede's Bluetec technology


Anonymous said...

I don't think diesel has future in the USA. People never liked it. And oil prices are coming down.

Anonymous said...

Diesel is the way out of the current mess. The flat earth mindset of corporate ICE makers and short-sighters saying 'oil prices are coming down' will not stand in the way again.