Clean Diesel Engines Arrive!

Big news in the diesel market from Green Car Congress as the promises made last year are starting to come to fruition. For example, check out the new Audi Q7 V12 monster based on the diesel race car that crushed the non-diesel competition at the Le Mans:

…Audi has applied a 6.0-liter, Euro-5 compliant 12-cylinder diesel TDI engine—the first V12 passenger car engine—in a concept version of the Audi Q7. The Audi Q7 V12 TDI study delivers 368 kW (493 hp) and a massive 1,000 Nm (737 lb-ft) of torque.

The power of the turbocharged V12 TDI takes the SUV from 0 to 100 kph in 5.5 seconds, with fuel consumption of 11.9 liters/100km (20 mpg US).

Oink Oink
Excessive, yes, but these technologies do make their way eventually to the more common models. 20 mpg is depressing, until you look at the giant pig of a body sitting on top of the powerplant. If they put that engine into something more reasonably efficient, the mpg would probably jump by double. Of course, you’d still have to convince people that they don’t need the baggage (pun intended).

Similarly, Mercedes has a big bulky design scheduled for import at the end of this year:

The Vision GL 420 BLUETEC is a full-size SUV featuring a V8 diesel engine, which develops 290 hp (216 kW) and 700 Nm (515 lb-ft) of torque, while delivering fuel consumption of 9.8 liters/100 km (24 mpg US).

For a vehicle the size of the GL 420, Mercedes uses a continuous urea-based Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) system with a conversion efficiency of up to 80%. The GL 420 is targeted to go on sale in the US in 2008.

Hello, do we really need 500-700 lb-ft of torque in luxury vehicles? I’d be happy with a more common 260 lb-ft found in vehicles like the Ford F-150 workhorse of a truck, and a big boost in mpg instead. Don’t tell me…marketing research says people who are meant to buy the Q7 don’t give a hoot about the efficiency?

Speaking of efficiency, this must be a shocker of a title for Americans to read:

Aluminum Use in new European Cars up 2.6x since 1990; Weight Reduction Yields Fuel Savings of 1 Billion Liters

They’re not yet talking about the savings in road wear or other externalities, but this really stands in contrast to the infamous American tax rules that actually encouraged people to buy vehicles that weigh over 3 tons. Oh, the security externalities…

Thankfully VW is coming through with their clean Jetta TDI, as well as a new mini-SUV (Tiguan) design.

Thanks Green Car Congress!

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