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Diesels to take on hybrids as king of green in US

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Guest Josh
DETROIT: Record-high prices at US pumps are giving hybrid cars a further image boost as the king of fuel economy, but many automakers are stepping up work on another major alternative to cut fuel consumption: diesel engines.

Long seen as a powerful but smog-forming drivetrain reserved for big trucks and buses, diesels are slowly gaining legitimacy in the world’s biggest car market, where many Americans drive large sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks for personal use. “Diesel is a no-brainer for pickup trucks — they’re bullet proof, run forever and get great mileage,” said Thad Malesh, principal of California-based research firm Automotive Technologies Research Group. “It will be a market requirement.”

Homegrown brands like Ford Motor Co. are especially keen on the technology, hoping to gain a competitive edge over Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co., which are behind in diesels but are winning market share in the United States with popular hybrid offerings.

To be sure, all automakers are developing and improving hybrid technology. Ford this week unveiled plans for a tenfold jump in hybrid output by 2010 — as well as other fuel-saving options like cars that run on ethanol.

But diesels are touted as a proven technology with high torque, towing power and durability, and as being more suited than others for hauling and long-distance driving. “I think diesels could offer North America a very significant benefit in improving fuel efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” Ford Chief Operating Officer Jim Padilla said at the Reuters Autos Summit this week. He said Ford was preparing to add more products to its diesel line-up, which includes versions of its popular F-series pickups.

Good performance bad image: Diesels get 20 percent to 40 percent better fuel economy than gasoline vehicles and account for more than half of Europe’s car market. But they have failed to gain traction in markets like the United States and Japan, where diesels suffer from a poor image due to the higher emissions of pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter, or soot.

Still, with the United States’ introduction of stricter sulfur-content and emissions standards by 2010, experts say diesels could be a sound ecological choice, given the low levels of carbon dioxide emissions linked to global warming.

Proponents also note that diesels cost less to produce than hybrids — about 1.15 times that of a conventional gasoline car versus 1.25 times for gasoline-electric hybrids, according to Tokyo-based Yano Research Institute. Hybrids require more parts, including a battery to capture lost energy while braking, and an electric motor that the battery feeds.

And while hybrids can theoretically get better mileage, they need stop-and-go driving for maximum efficiency, meaning someone used to cruising on highways is better off with a diesel.

Entire Story: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?p...5-9-2005_pg5_37

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Listen . . .

It's the voice of reason saying "Baby Duramax!"


Diesel in Canyon, Envoy, and Saturns!

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A baby Duramax in a Cobalt would be sweet.


Yes it would.Although, GM has had Euro-diesels for years that (I would think) they could could bring over to the USA. They would get dangously close to hybrid mileage, plus like the article said, it is a tried and true technology. I'm surprised that GM has not taken advantage of this possible market(wait, no I'm not........). Even though they are "enviromentaly undfriendly" (they have gotten MUCH better folks), there are many people who would want a reliable, simple high mileage engine. Even though I eat, sleep, and breath GM, I have been kind of craving a VW Jetta with the 1.9L Turbo Diesel. It's spec. is 38 mpg city, 46 mpg highway!

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