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Slideshow: Powertrain Technology Moves to the Forefront

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Charles Murray
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Re: Diesel
Charles Murray   2/7/2013 7:21:39 PM
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Al, I have to admit that I'm not sure if the 2X figure is right. That figure was based on the comment of one automotive engineer (who, by the way, does have a Ph.D. with a specialty in engine design). That said, the cost for diesel engines is much higher than for gasoline engines. One big reason is higher operating pressures. All parts are more costly -- blocks, heads, pistons, crankshafts, connecting rods and more, I'm told.

Charles Murray
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Re: Diesel
Charles Murray   2/7/2013 7:25:30 PM
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One other thing that has held back diesel in this country, as opposed to European countries, is the difference in the way fuel is taxed. As I understand it, European countries has "subsidized" diesel fuel (in other words, it isn't taxed as heavily as gasoline), or so I'm told.

Charles Murray
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Chicago Auto Show
Charles Murray   2/7/2013 7:27:26 PM
Big news about diesel engines from the Chicago Auto Show today (Thurs., Feb. 7): GM will offer a turbo diesel in the Chevy Cruze for 2014. We will be posting a story on that soon.

Elizabeth M
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Cool innovations
Elizabeth M   2/8/2013 10:34:09 AM
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I never thought car powertrain technology could be so interesting, being someone who is not savvy about cars in the slightest, but your slideshow was enlightening, Charles. It's nice to see what's being done to create more fuel efficiency. It is sorely needed!

Charles Murray
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Re: Cool innovations
Charles Murray   2/8/2013 6:06:40 PM
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I agree, Liz. It is sorely needed. It might be one of the biggest single factors in getting to 54.5 mpg by 2025.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Cool innovations
Elizabeth M   2/11/2013 3:09:47 AM
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That would be quite a feat! As with so many other technologies, I am surprised it too so long for this to evolve, as even when I was young oh so many years ago, people were talking about electric cars...but they didn't really start manufacturing them until 20 years later. Lack of interest and investment then, of course. Now it's practically necessary to go in this direction.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Diesel
Elizabeth M   2/11/2013 11:48:05 AM
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I live in Europe and have a diesel-engine vehicle, and I don't know for sure if this is true but it makes sense, as it's less expensive than gasoline here. Overall, most people here prefer to have a diesel engine over a gasoline-powered one.

Totally_Lost
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Silver
Re: Diesel
Totally_Lost   4/8/2013 10:23:01 AM
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Charles, all the parts are not even 20% more costly, other than the significantly lower production volume problem which transfer higher NRE costs to each unit, for design, prototyping, tooling, testings, certification, ... etc. Certainly the materials are not 2X in cost, or they would be 2x beefier. It's really hard to see that looking at a VW 1.9L TDI diesel from 10 years ago. Other than slightly larger bearings, it's pretty much scaled to a 1.9L gas engine. With significantly higher fuel economy.

Or for that matter a GM 6.5L diesel from 10 years ago, compared to the 350 and 454 derivative designs that it competes with, where it's towing performance is between the two, and significantly better fuel economy than either.

Totally_Lost
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Re: Cool innovations
Totally_Lost   4/8/2013 10:34:26 AM
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Charles, my concern over 54.5 fleet MPG remains ... and your selection of examples is pretty clear. the only car close to that, is the sub compact at 40mpg. We still seem headed to the previous CAFE results where huge numbers of cars will be produced that lack critical crumple zones to ride down crashes with stationary objects that kill and severely injure the driver and passengers. This will raise cost of insurance in the long run, increasing cost of ownership.

All of these engines have significantly higher complexity, which frequently translates to significantly higher initial purchase costs, as well as increased lifetime maintenence costs, raising cost of ownership significantly.

Minimum wage is unlikely to increase as fast, so the poor people will see a higher portion of their income moved to transportation, both cost of ownership and fuel cost, while accident rates increase.

Overall, this will drive inflation in our economy to meet a politically motivated goal of removing automobiles from our society.

Totally_Lost
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Re: Cool innovations
Totally_Lost   4/8/2013 10:46:16 AM
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while accident rates increase ... that should have been accident injury and death rates increase.

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