GM told Design News that the Cruze's diesel engine solves some of the notable problems that previously constrained diesel popularity in this country. The noise, exhaust soot, and foul smells were engineered out a long time ago.
Still, the cost of a diesel engine is markedly higher than that of a gasoline-burning engine. The engine's block, pistons, crankshaft, and connecting rods must be beefier as a means of dealing with the higher operating pressures necessary for compression ignition. "If you look at a 2.0-liter common base size pistons, you can see that the diesel will cost more," Siegrist told us. "It comes down to the higher cylinder pressures that the whole engine sees."
Moreover, engine control is a significant issue. "European diesels are wonderful engines," David Cole, chairman emeritus of the Center for Automotive Research, told Design News late in 2012. "But they do have a costly problem with nitrogen oxide control because diesel exhaust has a lot of excess oxygen in it. That's tricky and expensive to do."
The fuel itself is also more costly in the US, where it doesn't enjoy the tax advantages provided by European markets. The reason for the higher initial cost is that diesel fuel uses longer-chain hydrocarbons with a relatively low self-ignition temperatures, which are needed for compression ignition.
"Diesel fuel is harder to make," Cole told us. "There are only so many long hydrocarbon chains in a barrel of crude." The result is that diesel fuel typically costs between 25 cents and 40 cents per gallon more than gasoline in the US, he added.
Chevrolet expects buyers of the Cruze diesel to be drawn to it by its performance, however, rather than its pure economic advantages. "The Cruze diesel won't be focused on the pure business case," Siegritz said. "You're getting a premium product -- a more powerful product -- that still gets great fuel efficiency."
The GM Duramax diesels seem to be pretty good. Their new 2.8 L V6 Duramax sounds promising. The original Olds 350 diesel was a disaster because GM rushed the engine market. It was a shame that it happened and that another manufacturer didn't jump in and fill the vacuum before the market totally soured. State and federal fuel taxes may prove to be a problem, but VW has been able to sell diesels. Hopefully, GM will have better luck this time around.
I was surprised; only $.06 more per gallon for diesel. Very interesting: some states stand out in their region (like NJ in the NorthEast with sub-median taxes all around; just don't ask about real estate ones!).
Charles, I think SOMEBODY (named Charles) needs to do a little bit of research on the tax issue. Like what exactly are the US Federal and average state taxes on diesel fuel vs. gasoline. I have heard (no hard facts though) that the total tax burden for diesel is WAY more expensive than gasoline; my experience in driving several different diesel vehicles in EU recently strengthens that belief, as diesel there is significantly cheaper per liter than gas! I know that EU has much higher tax rates on gasoline than US average, and suspect it is much lower (than US) for diesel! Other posters have noted (correctly) that diesels just aren''t economically feasible in the present US arena. There is also somewhat of an infrastructure issue with diesel fuel availability much lower in US than in EU (where virtually ALL fuel stations have both). Personally, I would favor CNG-fueled diesels, but that is an even bigger infrastructure challenge. However, the CNG issue does have something in common with EV: there are already "home recharging units" for CNG that could work great for even long-range commutes. The interstate travel trips would still need new infrastructure, however.
I had a great experience a couple years ago driving a Volvo station wagon on the A3 autobahn in Germany. It had a 4 cylinder turbo diesel engine that would keep the vehicle at speed, but needed some time to get there when I had to get out of the passing lane and slow down in the middle travel lane. Much of the time was spent between 170kph and 200kph (106mph and 121mph), while I did manage to get it up to 230kph(143mph) briefly on a long, straight downhill. That's much faster than I can legally drive my C5 Corvette in this country.
Someone please tell me the difference in the two grades of Diesel there: besides price, of course.
I do not have enough expertise on engine block design to comment on the conversion of a gasoline engine to Diesel. Pressures on a Diesell block and head have to be much greater than for a gasoline engine. The number and size of headbolts has got to be engineered, and I believe most gasoline blocks are stuck with the number of headbolts originally chosen.
My daughter was interested enough to ask about what is under the hood when I gave her a car for college. I'd do routine maintenance when she'd come home for vacations and breaks, and she would watch and ask how the engine works and what the various components were. Apparantly, she learend enough to talk knowledgably about engines with boy students because she said they would ask her what's wrong with their cars whenever they were having a problem. Of course, she didn't know enough to fix problems, but she apparantly knew more than they.
Thanks, but I guess the point that I forgot to make is that it really isn't any different than owning a gasoline powered vehicle. I have several gassers, and each seems to specify a different grade of oil, so the diesel is just one more bottle in the shop. Many more stations around here are carrying diesel, and the truck stops are even putting in seperate islands with lower flow nozzles for passenger vehicles. Some of the new diesel vehicles have a tank valve that makes it much more difficult to insert the smaller gasoline nozzles, reducing the possibility of putting in the wrong fuel.
Whereas electrics and hybrids seem to shine best for short trips, diesels excel on longer commutes, and I think the infrastructre is finally moving in the direction of US diesel acceptance.
I congratulate you on raising a fine daughter and contributing member of society. Being an engineer's daughter I'd expect nothing less of her! You do have to admit however, you know which group of late teen, early twenties folks I'm talking about.
"Can you picture a 19 year old tiny bopper going to college, who can barely drive, let alone figure out where the oil goes and forget what grade you're supposed to use with one of these?"
My 17yo daughter (wouldn't call her a teeny-bopper) has no trouble figuring out where to put the diesel or oil in her car, or how to address other challenges if fuelling up at a truck stop. It really isn't that difficult. She loves her 10 year old VW 1.9L TDI, but it's old enough that it doesn't have all the extra emissions stuff. This means it still has respectable power, and comparable fuel mileage as the Cruze even with the auto trans.
@ltron: The Cruze Eco is a very nice car that I seriously considered buying. The fact that you can get 42+ MPG in a standard-powertrain vehicle that costs around $17,000 really undermines the case for hybrids, in my opinion.
I wound up going with a base-model Nissan Versa sedan that gets about 40 MPG (combined city and highway) and cost me a little under $13,000. It's the best value, by far.
Yeah, I'm with you on this one. VW and Mercedes have been putting diesel passenger cars on the roads continuously for decades and that institutional knowledge of how to make them work is not trivial, even if GM incorporates a European design engine, because there is still much that has to be done to fully integrate it in your design.
My wife and I test drove a VW Jetta TDI back in '05 when we needed a new car. Loved the way it drove, but the price differential of $6,000 plus between the base gas model Jetta that they were discounting and the TDI in which dealers were putting a premium on the MSRP made that an easy decision. Not to mention that my commute is 5 miles each way. Even in '05, when diesel in Maryland was actually cheaper than regular, it was going to take 150,000 miles just to "break even".
I wish GM well on this endeavor, but I personally wouldn't buy a diesel passenger car from GM until this car gets at least five or six years on the market. I'll let others deal with the growing pains.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.