Coming less than a month after the auto industry's biggest exhibition in Detroit, the recent Chicago Auto Show had a distinct flavor all its own. Instead of hybrids and electric cars, Chicago's get-together featured diesels and turbochargers.
Chevrolet stole the show with the rollout of its new, diesel-powered Cruze, while Volkswagen took a cue from the past by introducing a peppier version of its classic Beetle GSR. Not to be outdone, Nissan rolled out two cars derived from its Motorsports division and Toyota unveiled a redesigned version of its well-known Tundra truck.
From turbocharged powertrains to infotainment systems to diesel engines, following are some of the most promising innovations from the Windy City.
Click on the image below to start the slideshow.
GM's 2.0-liter turbo-diesel engine produces 148 HP and 258 lb-ft of torque -- a hundred lb-ft more than the Chevy Cruze's gasoline-burning counterpart. (Source: Chevrolet)
Chuck, diesels have been very popular in Europe for some time. About 12 years ago, when i was taking my driver's test in the UK my examiner started waxing on anout a turbo diesel car he had. He was a bit of a gear head and I got him talking about performance cars by mentioning my Alfa Romeo. My understanding is that about half of the cars sold in Europe are diesels. They get much better gas mileage, and new ones do not put out the soot that older models did.
Part of the popularity of diesel in Europe is due to the fact that VW and Mercedes-Benz put so much money into Diesel engine R&D. The new lower emissions, output, fuel economy and lifespan of these engines is superior to thier gasoline counterparts. Additionally Europe has aodpted Sundiesel fuel which is produced from wood and is less expensive than petroleum based diesel with a comparable energy density and clean burn.
The VW diesel-electric hybrid coupe may be out in late 2013, it reportedly gets 240MGP! The VW d-e hybrid crossover may be out in 2014 and gets 115 MPG! I am very stoked!
Diesel offerings are definitely gaining ground in the US. Many environmentally minded consumers are enamored with hybrids and electric cars.
But, a small, and determined, group is very interested in diesels. Not every biodiesel user wants to drive a 30 year old Mercedes.
Not surprisingly, VW/Audi have the best offering. BMW and Mercedes also have great options. I don't think any of the Japanese brands have moved in that direction for the US market yet. Chrysler is set to launch an EcoDiesel Range in the US but I haven't seen any new details on that.
In order for Diesel to pick up in the USA the prices of Diesel fule must go down, but oil companies here have monopoly. Diesel is cheaper than gasoline everywhere but in the USA. Diesel fuel is heavier fraction than gasoline and from the same amount of crude oil one can extract more Diesel fuel than gasoline.
It is amazing how people like to comment but don't know the matter they comment. Yes Japan's Mazda just introduced new 6 with most advanced Diesel engine on the market that does not need urea system to meet toughest emission standards.
Diesel powered cars are much better solution than electric/hybrid cars. USA just need to copy Europe, not in Diesel car technology but in home building, (no hurricane would blow away concrete house) health care, social security, mas transportation, high speed railways, politycal system solutions whre senators and congresmans are not bribed by interst groups to make deals for them but for country and many more things that are simply better there.
U.S. motorists always react to higher diesel prices but don't take the math into account. Let's say you own a fairly new 2010 or later economy car with a normal 4 cylinder that uses regular gas..gets 32 mpg. Compare to my diesel which gets 40 mpg cruisng at 65 mph. Regualr around here is running $3.49/gal and deisel is $3.88/gal. One needs to compute the $/mile to compare fairly. Normal car: ($3.49/ gal)* (gal/32 miles)=$0.109/mile or 10.9 cents/mile. Same drill but using the diesel numbers: ($3.88/gal)*(gal/40 miles)= $0.097/mile or 9.7 cents/mile.
Now, go buy the correct competitor of diesel 4 cylinder like a Jetta TDI and the comparsion comes out even better. EPA rates them at 42 mpg but I talk to those guys and they routinely get 46 on highway. ($3.88/gal)*(gal/46 miles)= $0.084/mile or 8.4 cents/mile.
Compare the 10.9 gasoline to the 8.4 diesel. % difference is (10.9-8.4)/(10.9)= 22.9%. Please bare in mind the cost difference has been accounted for. People need to stop freaking out about the higher "green numbers" at the pump. The normal difference between regular unlead and diesel is highest in the winter. In the summer, the difference is more like 20 cents/gallon. The American public just needs to be educated in this manner.
Thanks for your reply. You completelly missed the target. My point is that Diesel fuel is cheaper to make and in free economy should be cheaper like everywhere else. Due to big oil monopoly it is not cheaper and you are losing full advantage of more efficient Disel engine powered cars. That is the reason Diesel powered cars are strugling in the USA market and triving in the rest of the world. Just copy Germany.
Thanks zlatko. I don't work in the refining industry so i will defer to others on refinery principles. I know Europe's diesel quality is considerably better than US's from a cetane perspective. We are only guaranteed 40 cetane here but i read the requirement in Europe is 51. The higher cetane rating causes a quicker compression detonation. I'm told this improves fuel mileage but only repeating what I have read.
US overproduces diesel and exports it internationally and claim that the International market "buoys up" the cost. In Europe, diesel is cheaper than regular unleaded due to tax advantages. The opposite is true here but only about 6 cents per gallon difference in my state (Texas). What I believe is the case is taking into account currency exchange rates, we get diesel cheaper here than Europe does. Not trying to argue your earlier point, just saying what the situation is. I agree with you that we are being gouged since diesel is a byproduct of refining gasoline.
Been there done that. I used to live and work in Germany. Now for last 20 years I am in the USA and can compare. It is not only Diesel fuel that is gouged. Take health care, prescription drugs (you can by German car but not German pill because our senators/congresmans are concerned for you safety, yeah right, or they received money from pharmaceutical companies to prevent import, competition and lower prices). There is so many ways this great country USA can be improved just copying better systems that already exist and are being used.
Take foe example housing: If only our houses were made right way from concrete, bricks and steel that evil Sandy would cause much less damage.
If you ever have chance take that high speed train from London to Paris and you will understan what we are missing here and how it can be improved. It is faster than AA crowded dirty airplane.
Euro VW Golf Diesel makes 75+ mpg, people from CAR magazine made 101 mph between Jacksonville and LA. Good example are hybrid cars, with internal combustion engine, heavy bateries, electrical engine, generator, versus car with smaller Diesel engine, no way to comapre but this is so called free market initiative. By the way I am working for major oil company.
zlatko & BB_cuda: Thanks for sharing for experiences in Europe and the US. It brings good info to the discussion.
I disagree that the US needs to "copy" Germany. We can observe and take their best practices but the two countries are much too different to just copy. Demographics, car culture, size and mass are just a few of the things that make copying impossible.
Okay folks, the thread is going off into left field. Original article was about new diesel offerings in our country not European govts and US politics. I was only trying to let you all know of other diesels availble in the near term. The one guy made a good point about the volume of diesel used by truckers and trains.
Al, there's definitely a trend toward diesel here. How big a trend, I don't know. The new Jeep Cherokee SUV offers a diesel option. So does the soon-to-arrive Mazda6. I think it will be a long time before we get to Europe's 40% diesel penetartion rate, though.
Not sure of your source, but i have seen many times the take rate in Europe is 60% diesel not the converse that you offer (40%). I am an admittantly diesel enthusiast before we go any further. I drive a 2011 BMW 335D. Chrysler has indeed anounced the diesel Grand Cherokee using a 3.0 L V6 from VM Votori (sp?). Dodge has also announced the 1/2 ton Ram truck will get same engine as Grand Cherokee. No mileage figures released for the full size with smaller diesel but we enthusiasts are "stoked".
My car gets 38 to 40 mpg crusing at 70 mph. When i need to pass, lets just say no downshift of transmission is necessary with all of that torque (425 lb-ft). BMW stopped making the 335D after 2011 due to switching to the new 3 series. BMW has announced 3 new coming diesels to the states. 535D using similar 6 cylinder as my 2011, 4 cylinder 328 sedan (2 wd and AWD), 328 wagon (2wd and AWD). All versions will start manufacturing in July 2013. This is not a rumor, it is confirmed.
The slideshow certainly shows a collection of pretty vehicles. They certainly are pretty, no doubt about that.
I was hoping for a bit more technical display, but I realize that would take lots of effort, since it is not possible to see much detail just "looking under the hood" these days. It is certainly true that the diesel performance has improved a whole lot, due to quite a few great innovations. One thing on that subject, which is that the diesel engine is not cheaper than the gas engine, since the compression ratio has to be higher, which means stronger bottom end parts and tighter head tolerances, and in addition there are much higher pressures in that injection system since it is still a compression ignition system. The big item that is missing is the ignition sparking system, but in its place is a glow-plug system, not quite as complex, but those glow plugs sell for a lot more than what spark plugs sell for. So really, the diesel engine is more complex.
What amazed me in China was seeing a lot of vehicles built with a "diesel mule" for power. The mule is a two-wheeled thing with a one cylinder diesel engine that steers like an old garden tiller, with the two handles. The mules were coupled to a two wheeled cart and usually had a whole family and goods traveling along. Steering was done by pointing the front part, the mule, using the tiller handles. The pivot point was midway between the front wheels and the rear wheels. Imagine driving one of those i our rushhour traffic.
Auto shows are notoriously difficult to get a lot of good tech info, William K, because many companies don't bring their engineers. GM did bring its engineers for the diesel intro, however. And, yes, you are absolutely correct about the cost of diesel engines as a result of dealing with the higher operating pressures. See the diesel article here:
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