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VW Set To Release Diesel Hybrid

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the zum-zum-sip dept.

Transportation 179

SUVs_SUCK writes "It's official — Volkswagen is unveiling a hybrid to challenge the mighty Toyota Prius. And not just any hybrid, but a diesel-electric hybrid it says will deliver 69.9 mpg. Auto Express says the Golf hybrid will be offered for sale in Europe by the end of next year. No word yet on when we might see it in the US."

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bollocks (4, Funny)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600812)

Re:bollocks (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600944)

that post is so on topic it isn't funny. but hey - with all the other insightful discussion going on so far I guess it should be modded down anyway.

69.9 mpg? (1)

UncleWilly (1128141) | more than 6 years ago | (#22602248)

what happened? a bug hit the windscreen?

Which Gallon? (4, Informative)

compwizrd (166184) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600876)

US and Imperial gallons vary significantly, 70mpg in imperial is 58 mpg in US gallons.. still quite good.

Re:Which Gallon? (1)

hardburn (141468) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601098)

Not really. The Fiat Panda diesel (non hybrid) gets almost 80mpg.

Re:Which Gallon? (1)

hardburn (141468) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601142)

Correction: Gets almost 70mpg combined (was looking at the "extraurban" number). So the added complication of a hybrid system isn't buying you much.

Re:Which Gallon? (2, Informative)

iainl (136759) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601212)

A Fiat Panda is a significantly smaller car, though - a compromise not everyone is able to make (speaking as someone who upgraded from a Panda-sized car to a Golf-variant when my son was on the way, and immediately realised it was the right decision when I tried to put a pushchair in the boot).

Re:Which Gallon? (1)

karnal (22275) | more than 6 years ago | (#22602930)

when I tried to put a pushchair in the boot
Your language amuses and confuses me.

(and yes, I know it's a stroller in the "trunk")

(laugh, it's funny!)

Re:Which Gallon? (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603546)

Yeah, my first thought was that my Mum's 1996 VW Golf diesel turns in pretty similar performance figures and fuel economy.

So, uhm, why the hybrid stuff?

When does this arrive in the USA? (2, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601130)

As soon as Dick Cheney's pacemaker seizes-up!

Re:When does this arrive in the USA? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22602914)

You are such a fucking retard, Jeremiah.
It's not even funny.

Re:When does this arrive in the USA? (1, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603866)

Apparently - according to the mods - it is funny.

Here's a quarter, kid. Pop your zits and buy yourself a friend.

Re:Which Gallon? (1)

tgrimley (585067) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601150)

Quiet good but not a lot better than the tdi's that have been around for years..

Finally! (1)

ducman (107063) | more than 6 years ago | (#22602780)

A hybrid diesel makes a lot of sense to me. Diesels already get great mileage, but slow acceleration makes them much less fun to drive. An electric motor should provide much better acceleration, while the diesel's great constant-speed efficiency is perfect for running a charging system. A diesel/electric hybrid seems like a much more natural combination than the diesel/gas hybrids the car companies have been selling. By the way, I live in Colorado where more pick-up trucks use diesel than gas, apparently, so there's plenty of diesel around.

Re:Which Gallon? (5, Informative)

iainl (136759) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601184)

It's US gallons; UK Channel 4 quote the mileage as 83.1mpg. As I noted elsewhere before I realised the mistake, the best a current Golf offers is 62.8 mpg Imperial, so if this really were an Imperial value it wouldn't gain you much over the current offering.

Re:Which Gallon? (1)

aproposofwhat (1019098) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601288)

It's actually 83mpg imperial, hence the 70mpg figure in Wired (click on the link in the Wired article to see the UK article with the numbers in imperial).

83mpg is pretty good for a Golf-sized vehicle, but a carefully driven 2.0 TDI gets almost 70mpg on a trip, when kept within the speed limit ;0)

Re:Which Gallon? (1)

drunken_boxer777 (985820) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601608)

I thought that gas was sold by the liter (or is it 'litre'?) in Europe and the UK. Why publish ratings in miles per gallon instead of kilometers per liter? At least that would eliminate any confusion between US and Imperial gallons.

Re:Which Gallon? (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601692)

It gets worse: the proper way of expressing fuel efficiency is L/100km, which is bizarre and counter-intuitive if you've grown up thinking in miles per gallon. A lower L/100km is better. I just find it really hard to visualize!

Re:Which Gallon? (3, Informative)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 6 years ago | (#22602220)

I think I like that idea actually. I do remember reading about the measurement in the past but never really thought about it. Think of L/100km as I need to go 'x;km, I'll ned 'y'L of fuel. vs. MPG, I have 'x' Gallons of fuel I can go 'y' Miles.

Re:Which Gallon? (1)

Firefalcon (7323) | more than 6 years ago | (#22602052)

We are indeed charged by the litre (UK English, 'liter' in the US) at the pumps in the UK (and have been for many years, although it used to be by the gallon) (and AFAIK the rest of Europe all use litres), but unlike most of Europe, our road distances are in miles. So a better measure for us would probably be "miles per litre", but we still use "miles per gallon" when rating cars fuel efficiency (and as the grandparent of this thread said, UK and US gallons are different). I can't speak for other European countries, where their distances are measured in kilometres.

We also have a confusing mix of metric and imperial measures almost anywhere you look (e.g. ingredients: half a pint of milk, 100 grams of sugar, and 4 cups of flour [note this is off the top of my head, not an actual recipe, but is a realistic example of the bizarre situation]), our own height and weight are in imperial, but bags of flour and sugar are in grams.

We are a confused nation who unfortunately can't decide if we are metric or not, thus I guess we've kept with MPG due to tradition...

Re:Which Gallon? (3, Funny)

BlueshiftVFX (1158033) | more than 6 years ago | (#22602508)

yeah but can it do the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs?

Re:Which Gallon? (1)

Sandbags (964742) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603556)

It gets even wierder when you note that in Europe (and almost every country but the USA) fuel is not actually sold by the gallon/litre/whatever. It's sold by weight. Europe recognizes that fuel expands and contracts with both tempurature and baraometric pressure, so although the pump may say "gallons" in england, the gallon you get on different days is not the same. In other words, a gallon by mass allways has the exact same amount of energy in Europe. In the USA, it does not.

Re:Which Gallon? (1)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601708)

My car gets forty rods to the hogshead, and that's the way I likes it!
--Grampa

Weirdly, on the Continent they like to measure fuel consumption the other way round, as kilometres per litre. So there is no agreed SI-unit replacement for miles per gallon. Clearly though, mpg is a confusing term and should be avoided; English speakers will wonder whether you meant US or Imperial gallons, and everyone else won't have a clue.

Re:Which Gallon? (1)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601724)

I meant litres per kilometre (or 100km) of course... that is 'the other way round' compared to miles per gallon.

Re:Which Gallon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22604022)

Your calculations are way wrong.

I'm not sure why the hybrid part is required with diesel. When I last had a Peugeot diesel in the UK, a year 2000 model car, it got 60 MPG (UK Imperial gallons) easily. So this isn't a huge improvement, at probably a lot more cost.

Nice, but ... (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600892)

... why shell out the extra cash for a hybrid thingie when I get 45 mpg with my car (VW Touran 2.0 TDI) already ?

A couple of thousand bucks ($ or Euros) still buys a lot of fuel.

Re:Nice, but ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22601238)

I think the true promise of hybrid technology is the plug-in hybrid. Where if you want you can get all the true benefits of a true electric, included very low cost per mile operating costs. However you don't have any of the true downfalls such as poor range because you still are toting around your own generator. Useful for that last minute road trip when you've already brought your battery down to 25% from your daily commute, or as an emergency generator for power outages and camping trips.

I will (and I'm an '05 Golf TDI owner) (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601434)

I will, and I'm an '05 Golf TDI owner who's enjoying about 43 MPG today. I'm an efficiency geek - always loved that diesels did more with less than gasoline engines. I can't wait to use the same tech in my car that's used in locomotives - that REALLY appeals to the kid in me.

Re:I will (and I'm an '05 Golf TDI owner) (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601754)

"Less" being relative, since diesel fuel contains more energy per volume than gasoline. Apples and oranges, except this is a car analogy.

Re:I will (and I'm an '05 Golf TDI owner) (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 6 years ago | (#22602814)

"Less" being relative, since diesel fuel contains more energy per volume than gasoline. Apples and oranges, except this is a car analogy. Nope, it's not relative. Higher energy content of diesel fuel aside, they diesel cycle allows for higher efficiency than the otto cycles since it has a higher compression ratio.

biodiesel? (1)

Corpuscavernosa (996139) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600898)

But will it run biodiesel?

Probably not. (2, Interesting)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600938)

The modern, efficient diesel engines (pump-nozzle or common-rail injection) usually don't get clearance for biodiesel from their manufacturer. One bad batch of the stuff and you can kiss the engine goodbye, which usually comes with a four-digit bill attached to it.

Re:Probably not. (0)

prefect42 (141309) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600986)

That's not true. Quite a few modern engines are factory certified to run at least on E85.

E85 = gasoline (2, Informative)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601052)

That's not true. Quite a few modern engines are factory certified to run at least on E85. Try running your (modern) diesel engine with E85, and you don't even need a bad batch to kiss it goodbye. It'll pretty much kill it as soon as you try to start the engine.

Re:Probably not. (1)

netsavior (627338) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601060)

That's not true. Quite a few modern engines are factory certified to run at least on E85.

which is neither diesel nor bio-diesel.

Re:Probably not. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22601080)

Yeah but E85 isn't Diesel. Plus you lose alot of energy on the E85 vrs normal gas. The 30 cents I save per gallon with the E85 isn't worth the loss in mileage.

Re:Probably not. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22601084)

Yeah, E85 will run great in a diesel!!

Hey how about replacing your oil with sand while your at it. The friction will keep the internals nicely polished.

Re:Probably not. (4, Informative)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601092)

Biodiesel IS NOT ETHANOL. E85 is an ethanol blend. B% is a biodiesel blend. Most modern manufactures will warranty up to B5.

The problem with Biodiesel is that too much of it is out of spec. A recent survey done by I forget who found that 50% of "biodiesel" didn't meet the ASTM specification. Imagine if 50% of gasoline or diesel didn't meet the required spec, engines would be shitting out left and right.

Get the stock and specifications under control and then we'll talk.

On crack? (4, Informative)

RingDev (879105) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601108)

Modern diesels are fine with BD. The main issue with running BD was on older engines with rubber fuel lines that the BD would dissolve, leading to clogged injectors and damaged fuel lines. But you can buy a VW diesel and run BD20 in it with out violating the warrenty. You can run BD100 in them just fine, but since BD isn't quite as standardized as PD they will not honor the warrenty if there is a fuel related problem and you've been running anything over BD20. In fact, the new ULSD fuel has lost a good deal of it's natural lubricity. Running 20% BD, 80% ULSD will actually get you the lower emissions of the ULSD and the lubricity of LSD.

-Rick

Re:On crack? (2, Funny)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601190)

Running 20% BD, 80% ULSD will actually get you the lower emissions of the ULSD and the lubricity of LSD.
Forget it then; we'll never see these in the US, what with the senseless of our WAR ON DRUGS!!!!

Acronyms FTW! (2, Interesting)

RingDev (879105) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601364)

Heh... That would be "Low Sulfur Diesel" and "Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel" which represent 500ppm and 15ppm sulfur content respectively.

-Rick

Re:On crack? (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603482)

The main issue with running BD was on older engines with rubber fuel lines that the BD would dissolve, leading to clogged injectors and damaged fuel lines.

I'm running a 1998 New Beetle TDI on B50 (to be switched to B100 once winter is over). Do you happen to know if I'll suffer that problem?

Re:biodiesel? (1)

akb (39826) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601134)

Diesel engines require no modification to run biodiesel. Some hose components and seals may need changing. Also, if you have an old engine you will probably need to clean the fuel filter after several thousand miles as the biodiesel will clean out the accumulated junk from regular diesel.

Europe already has a requirement to blend biodiesel into regular diesel sold at the pump.

Re:biodiesel? (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601244)

Diesel engines require no modification to run biodiesel.

Modern injection systems have problems with biodiesel (got that from a buddy who's designing those at Bosch). So, while the engine will run, it'll foul up your injection system sooner or later. Especially since they still have problems getting consistent fuel quality.

Non-injected diesel engines don't have these issues, but they aren't as efficient as their modern brethern and probably harder to find in cars, too.

Re:biodiesel? (1)

jabuzz (182671) | more than 6 years ago | (#22602304)

Well I have a friend that works at Delphi making injectors, and what he says is that the manufactures don't have 20 years of product history to know if they will work. So while they don't anticipate any problems they are all holding back on certifying them as being compliant.

Re:biodiesel? (1)

rs79 (71822) | more than 6 years ago | (#22602528)

"Also, if you have an old engine you will probably need to clean the fuel filter after several thousand miles as the biodiesel will clean out the accumulated junk from regular diesel "

As if. A buddy of mine swiched in his 25 year old Mercedes diesel. He went through a case of fuel filters in 200 miles.

"Non-injected diesel engines don't have these issues "

There are non-injected diesels? Where?

Re:biodiesel? (1)

DoctorFrog (556179) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601570)

Old-stlye diesel engines run equally well on either type, but modern high-pressure diesel injection systems have experienced problems with certain types of biodiesel forming parafin-like deposits in the injectors, which can clog them or even cause overheating and subsequent damage. (I work at a Bosch plant which manufactures these systems.)

Contrary to a previous rather alarmist post I have never heard of a customer having to replace an engine for one of these problems, though the injection system may require extensive repair/replacement.

Re:biodiesel? (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601474)

If they are using some version of their tried-and-true diesel engine, yes. Lost among all of the shouting about energy independence rhetoric is the fact that the VW TDI's have been bio-diesel certified for years.

Better still, they make **excellent** grease car conversions. The next car we buy will be a TDI. The grease conversion kit isn't that expensive and doing a good job on the conversion looks like a weekend's work.

Re:biodiesel? (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 6 years ago | (#22602022)

No, TDI's make HORRIBLE grease car conversions - the IP pressure on the VE TDI was ~15,000 psi, the PD version is about 20,000 psi. CR is going to be even higher.

www.tdiclub.com

Re:biodiesel? (1)

AdrocK (107367) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601836)

Or even better a B100/SVO mix. Sure you'd have to mod the car to add the SVO kit, but you could start it on B100 and then swith it to Straight Veggie Oil!

Why Hybrid? (3, Insightful)

iainl (136759) | more than 6 years ago | (#22600934)

The current 1.9 TDI BlueMotion S does 62.8 mpg anyway, if we're talking Proper Gallons instead of the US ones. Which I'd expect a German company to be doing.

All the nasty, difficult to dispose of and full of toxic chemical batteries aren't improving that value by a hell of a lot, then.

OK, that's Why Hybrid? (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601044)

To answer my own question, I followed the link in TFA to the original report. Where it specifies 83.1mpg in Proper German Gallons.

So that's actually quite a difference, then.

Re:Why Hybrid? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601104)

That's what I was thinking. We see a lot of push for hybrids, when you could easily get the same fuel mileage out of a car that isn't a hybrid. I remember seeing a VW Beatle deisel with a 3.0 L/100KM sticker on the side (it was a promotional thing) which equates to 78 Miles/Gallon (According to Google). Why bother toting around batteries, and having all the problems with their disposal and maintenance, when you can just go with a pure diesel engine?

Re:Why Hybrid? (1)

Wolvie MkM (661535) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601242)

Infrastructure I would tend to think. There is only 1 diesel pump near my house and I live in a thriving high tech sector in Canada.

People still equate diesel with the memories of what they were in the 70's, loud, dirty, etc...

Modern engine run like a gas one more or less but getting that in to people's heads has been tough.

Certainly wish I had one in my car, but I'll suffer with my 3L V6 until I'm tired of paying 1$/L every week or so...

Re:Why Hybrid? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601408)

I live in a Canadian tech sector too (Ottawa). I know people with Diesel trucks. They don't seem to have too much of a problem finding pumps. Also, people who are investigating hybrids are probably a little more forward thinking than most people. Market it to that crowd, and you could probably get quite a few buyers. All the efficiency of a hybrid, with the proven reliability and long-life of a diesel.

Re:Why Hybrid? (1)

Wolvie MkM (661535) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601658)

That's where I am, I was basically referring to the Esso at March & Solandt. I think there's only 1 pump there, and I don't think the Shell down the road has any.

It's obvious that there are points for these people to fill up but I was aiming at conveniences in my post more than anything. With diesel you actually have to figure out who offers it, it's not as "mindless" of a service as gasoline is where no matter what station you go to you are going to get what you need.

I really do hope that we change the way we think about diesel. Increasing the amount of fuel up points would certainly help with adoption I'd think!

Hopefully this makes sense my body is making me pay for drinking the pain of the Sens game away last night... lol

Re:Why Hybrid? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601958)

The problem is you live in Kanata, which seems to have no service industry, despite a large number of people living and working out there. Filling up with diesel is more inconvenient, as less places do offer it, but it's still somewhat easy to find. My argument would be, why would you need more than 1 pump? Sure they could charge higher rates, because of less competition, but that doesn't seem to happen. Also, if you're travelling long distances, you'll find that most gas stations on the highway do offer diesel, as trucks bring in quite a lot of business.

Re:Why Hybrid? (1)

Wolvie MkM (661535) | more than 6 years ago | (#22602178)

Absolutely bang on for long distance trips, of course they all offer it.

What I covered in a reply to someone else a couple minutes ago is the 1 pump factor. There isn't the offering of like there is to gas it's painfully out numbered to regular gasoline. If diesel gets more popular people will get annoyed waiting for that 1 pump when there's 10 cars. Only then will the service stations "upgrade" their offerings. I do look forward to that happening hopefully sooner rather than later. But it will only happen after North American's get past what diesel used to be like in their heads.

Naturally the market is mostly regular gas for damn near every consumer car. Again for me diesel's problem is the perception that people have over it being dirty, and the lack of "convenience" compared to gas when you need it.

Anyways, back to your original point. I'm with you for pushing a full diesel engine, it's just we need a more convenient infrastructure to get it in to peoples heads that they don't have to give filling up a second thought.

Re:Why Hybrid? (1)

rs79 (71822) | more than 6 years ago | (#22602560)

I've driven a diesel for over a decade now and live way way out in the country. I've never had a problem finding diesel in Canada, not once, ever.

The US... that's different.

Re:Why Hybrid? (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601922)

Where does this "oh no, no diesel" myth propagate?

If the place has 'stuff' the 'stuff' was brought by a truck using diesel. Sure every single gas station in town doesn't have one, but look around, sometimes it's on a separate island, sometimes it's just another handle on the gas pumps. It's not that hard to find.

I love my '98 TDI and I have NEVER had a problem finding diesel (although given that you have 600-800 miles per tank to do so...)

Re:Why Hybrid? (1)

Wolvie MkM (661535) | more than 6 years ago | (#22602042)

It's not really a myth when there's only 1 pump compared to 15 for gas. I would be pretty annoyed if there happened to be 10 other diesel-ers who needed gas when I did waiting for that 1 pump

The penetration of diesel, at least at my local pumps, is hardly what I'd call convenient at those ratios don't you think?

Re:Why Hybrid? (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 6 years ago | (#22602348)

I've rarely ever seen Just One pump. Usually they're in a pair. And usually stations won't install diesel tanks just for one pump.

And that '15' for gas, are you counting all 3 grades? Because I can't think of anytime I've seen a small town 15 pump station that has only 1 diesel pump. Heck that's on the scale of some interstate stations. Most of the local ones have maybe 10 pumps at most and even then 2 diesel pumps on a separate island.

And I'd say filling up only 5% of the time I've ever had to wait for someone to move on, about on par with when I drove gasoline.

Re:Why Hybrid? (1)

Wolvie MkM (661535) | more than 6 years ago | (#22602524)

I've rarely seen more than one. Again this just might be an Ottawa thing. The market may just not be there.

Sorry I was counting basically every spot at the station, 1 pump to feed people on each side. So 8 would probably be more accurate (more or less) with all 3 grades is the norm around here. But we're not a small town :) The Esso with diesel by my place has one stand alone diesel. And it's in between 2 gas pumps so it really does make it a little annoying if you are waiting for gas and diesel people to filter through. Particularly if diesel cars pick up in popularity

As I was mentioning, with the other guy in this thread, it would be great to see a little more dedication to diesel I think it would help drive home the convenience of diesel just being there without you having to find a specific place where to get the fuel.

Anyways, I hope I'm getting my point across, basically it would be great for diesel if it was a mindless purchase, where you didn't have to go to specific station. Where you could go to literally any station and get whatever fuel you need.

Re:Why Hybrid? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603892)

How likely is there to be a situation when 10 people are going to want to use the diesel pump at exactly the same time? With so few diesels on the road, it would probably never happen. It's not like everybody is going to run out and buy a diesel overnight. Sure eventually usage for diesel could increase, but only over a period of probably 15 years (about the time of 3 generations of cars for most people). But by that time, the gas stations would have had time to adjust for the increase in demand, and installed more diesel pumps.

Re:Why Hybrid? (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601440)

Because you could get the same mileage out of a car with a real back seat and enough power to get up to highway speed before you grow old and die?

Re:Why Hybrid? (2, Informative)

RingDev (879105) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601180)

All the nasty, difficult to dispose of and full of toxic chemical batteries aren't improving that value by a hell of a lot, then.
Batteries are difficult to dispose of, but really easy to recycle.

-Rick

Re:Why Hybrid? (2, Insightful)

peacefinder (469349) | more than 6 years ago | (#22602502)

Why Hybrid? Regenerative braking. Since it's a tad difficult to convert recovered braking energy into diesel fuel, some other energy storage device is needed.

US Vaporware (3, Informative)

CompMD (522020) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601258)

"No word yet on when we might see it in the US."

We won't. The United States has long hated diesel cars. I can't think of a single domestic automaker that has a diesel car. And the number of imports is *very* limited. When you can find one, you will not receive any discounts, no special offers apply to them, and the dealers will avoid making you a deal on the price. On top of that, it is not always easy to find diesel. In the Chicago area it was a complete pain to find a station that sold diesel for my old Mercedes. I was thankful that there was one near my home, but the next nearest one was four towns away.

I'd love to see this type of car around here. I get sick and tired of listening to my friends tell me how they are so proud that their new, spartan, unimaginative, boring, uncomfortable Toyotas, Hondas, and Fords get 30mpg on the highway. Although I do love watching them flip out when I show them how my 24 year old, 5000 lb, loaded with bells and whistles, diesel Mercedes sedan gets 38mpg on the highway.

Sigh. I don't know when we're gonna "get it" over here.

Re:US Vaporware (1)

downix (84795) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601330)

Um, GM, Ford and Chrysler all make Diesel vehicles, they just won't sell them in the US. Not that they can't, they just won't.

Re:US Vaporware (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601382)

Um, I had a friend buy a brand new VW Jetta TDI (Turbo Diesel Injection) just two years ago. They may not be the most popular option, but companies sell new deisels. I thought Mercedes still sold a Diesel, and I'd be amazed if you couldn't get a couple of different trucks in a Diesel version. It's the Toyota Tundra available in Diesel, for example?

Re:US Vaporware (1)

FatAlb3rt (533682) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601714)

The big 3 all make heavy duty diesel trucks. I heard Ford was considering a F150 diesel model in 2009.

Re:US Vaporware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22601798)

I live in the Chicago area (Forest Park) and while I agree it is marginally troublesome to find stations that stock diesel, and diesel tends to be more expensive, I still save money on fuel driving my '06 Jetta TDI, especially versus my wife's '03 V6 Passat.

And I haven't even gone for the 'Greasecar' conversion (yet) or found a soot filter for it. Greasecars rock (google it if curious).

Seriously, finding a station is not that big a deal, especially if you get 450-500 miles on a single tank, which I do - and I drive a lot in rush hour traffic. I'll keep the TDI until it falls apart or I can get back to a job that I can take the Blue line to. Once you know where the stations are, and all the major highways have diesel stations, it isn't so bad. Where do you live, Aurora?

Re:US Vaporware (2, Informative)

chill (34294) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601852)

For the longest time, there were different regulations in different U.S. States in regards to diesel passenger vehicles. For example, they were illegal to sell in Massachusetts. Essentially, Mass and a few other States lowered the sulphur emission standards to impossible levels.

Then came Federally mandated low-sulphur diesel fuel. This stuff allows good diesel engines, like VW's TDI series, to meet emission standards in all 50 U.S. States. As this low-sulphur diesel works its way into the system, then those restrictive laws will no longer mean much. I was driving in Central Indiana the other day and saw a big sticker on one of the diesel pumps that advertised low-sulphur diesel.

U.S. automakers were biding their time on this issue until the fuel was available so they could sell diesel cars in all 50 States. I've read about diesel programs with all major American auto makers for their light truck lines; for Jeep; and even a couple for standard passenger cars.

http://www.clean-diesel.org/highway.html [clean-diesel.org]

I'm not so sure (4, Interesting)

name_already_taken (540581) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601924)

The United States has long hated diesel cars.

I don't think that's entirely true. GM screwed it up for everyone else by their half-assed conversions of gasoline engines to diesel around 1979 - broken crankshafts, cracked cylinder heads, etc. resulted from not adequately reengineering the main components of the Oldsmobile 5.7L V8 and 4.3L V6 (used in front wheel drive A-body cars).

The Mercedes diesels have always been reliability legends and sold well in the USA through the 1980s. There are still a lot of W123-chassis diesel models running around. VW diesels seem well regarded in the USA too.

In the US pickup truck marketplace, diesels are seen as ultra-reliable high-torque powerhouses. A full-size pickup with a diesel engine gets significantly better fuel mileage than my gasoline-powered mid-size Dodge Dakota (I have seen mileage as low as 9.9 MPG in city driving in bad winter weather). Problem is, diesels are seen as ultra-reliable high-torque powerhouses and so the diesel pickup engines available are all overbuilt, for the people who apparently tow ocean liners across the country or something. The Cummins 5.9L diesel 6-cylinder engine was a $6000 option by itself, and there is no light-duty diesel engine available for normal people.

I can't think of a single domestic automaker that has a diesel car.

Well I guess it depends on what you consider a "car". Chrysler currently sells the Jeep Liberty with a 2.8L diesel engine which according to reviews gives superior performance and much better fuel economy than the 3.7L gasoline engine, and all three of the big three (GM, Chrysler, Ford) sell pickup trucks with diesel engines (although they are huge trucks).

With the current fuel costs, there is definitely a market in the USA for efficient vehicles, but people aren't willing to give up performance (remember the 48HP VW Rabbit diesel? I'd hate to try to merge into expressway traffic in one of those) or move to much smaller vehicles (utility and the perception of safety).

I think with the modern diesel technology that cuts the noise (although I love the diesel clatter myself) and cleans up the emissions, and fuel economy that rivals or surpasses hybrid gasoline cars (without making the car into an expensive science-fair project on wheels), the time for diesel cars in the USA has arrived.

Re:I'm not so sure (1)

ChrisMaple (607946) | more than 6 years ago | (#22602648)

Where I live diesel is currently selling for about 20% more than gasoline. Diesel price has been slowly rising w.r.t. gasoline over the last few decades. There isn't any net savings and it isn't likely to get better.

Re:US Vaporware (1)

rs79 (71822) | more than 6 years ago | (#22602616)

"Although I do love watching them flip out when I show them how my 24 year old, 5000 lb, loaded with bells and whistles, diesel Mercedes sedan gets 38mpg on the highway. "

38? Which one is that? a 190D? My 300SD gets 33 mpg at best. Booth's US and Euro 190D 2.5's got 45 and 48 mpg respecitvely.

Re:US Vaporware (1)

The One and Only (691315) | more than 6 years ago | (#22602662)

The United States has long hated diesel cars. I can't think of a single domestic automaker that has a diesel car.

Who even cares about the domestic automakers anymore? They make shitty overpriced cars and only make a profit on financing. Volkswagen TDI's are fairly easy to find in this country.

On top of that, it is not always easy to find diesel. In the Chicago area it was a complete pain to find a station that sold diesel for my old Mercedes. I was thankful that there was one near my home, but the next nearest one was four towns away.

Interesting. In Washington (the state) it isn't difficult at all to find diesel. Have you tried checking truck stops?

Yes and it actually gets to 65 mph... eventually (1)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 6 years ago | (#22602690)

I know all about the Mercedes Diesels from back then. They are reliable for sure but they are slow. Especially when combined with 4 speed transmissions with not enough low gearing. They accelerate like a tourtise. A lighter car with the same engine probably fairs well like the normal VW TDI models of this day in age.

Re:US Vaporware (1)

ksheff (2406) | more than 6 years ago | (#22602744)

Are truck stops all that difficult to find in the Chicago area?

Great news! (4, Funny)

spywhere (824072) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601284)

I've thought about buying a Prius, but they lack the massive quality problems and terrible fit & finish that come standard with every Volkswagen model.
Now I can save the planet even more: on the days it's in the shop for warranty repairs, it will consume no fuel!

Re:Great news! (1)

Dixie_Flatline (5077) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601680)

From what I understand, the diesel VWs are built in Europe, which leads to considerably fewer problems than the ones built in Mexico or China.

Re:Great news! (1)

Evangelion (2145) | more than 6 years ago | (#22604016)

Not really. I had one of the German ones, and it was no different than any of the other TDI horror stories I've heard -- constantly in the shop.

Never again.

Re:Great news! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22601912)

Fit and Finish are two of the biggest positives that VWs have had going for them over the past decade or so.

If you want to troll / joke on them do it about their completely hit or miss service departments and reliability numbers (coil pack and window regulators).

Not real VWs. (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 6 years ago | (#22602008)

European VWs are different. In over 60000 miles mine stopped once: when the battery gave out and failed to start it, and an hour later it was off again with a new battery. It did throw a fault: the oil pressure warning light came on in error. But, as someone experienced in Diesels, I just had to listen to the engine to know it was the light and not the engine.

The Prius is made uneconomically by Totota to buy market mindset, hence the build quality etc., and for that reason you might want one (it's a bargain). But the VW hybrid most likely will be the same in the first release, so is probably worth waiting for.

Especially because of the dirty litle secret they really do not want you to know. Diesel is much safer in crashes because it is so much denser, unlikely to form explosive mixtures with air. As well as producing less CO2, it is less likely to fry you.

Re:Great news! (2, Insightful)

ink (4325) | more than 6 years ago | (#22602012)

:-) Soooo true. My '03 Golf TDI has saved a LOT of fuel by saying the night at the dealer for its infamous electrical "issues". I still love it though.

MOD PARENT UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22602266)

It's funny because it's true. My TDI gets great mileage, but god does it suck compared to Japanese reliability.

Re:MOD PARENT UP (1)

matt4077 (581118) | more than 6 years ago | (#22602566)

Yes, it was true, for a while. At least regarding Japanese cars, especially Toyota, the quality has been declining in the last few years due to their massive success and ensuing expansion.

Re:Great news! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22602874)

You haven't shopped (or bought) a VW in the last 20 years, have you?

Fit and finish of my current two VW's are *miles* above any Honda or Toyota my extended family members own.

And I've not had anything other than normal service every 5k miles.

Nice job with the FUD, tho. Keep it up - maybe SCO could use you.

Bonus: captcha for this post is "Quality"

mod parent up (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603136)

Indeed, euro quality is up, and asian quality is down for cars on the US market today. Just read any automotive magazine on the newsstand today.

yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22601462)

Diesel is diesel... sourced from fossilized biology or only recently dead biology.

Which standard (1)

Woundweavr (37873) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601620)

Its my understanding that in the US starting with 08 models the metric for MPG [greencarcongress.com] is changing and for the most part its driving the official mpg down quite a bit. In other words, if your current car gets X mpg by the old standards, a car getting X mpg in 08 is actually significantly more efficient.

So which metric is being used?

Bus (1)

walrusboy (1235716) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601644)

This could have been the perfect way to bring back the old-school VW Bus design which was shown a couple years back in Detroit. Like bringing back the VW Bug, VW could have brought back their cool bus design, but with an eco-friendly power plant. (sigh)

My questions... (2, Interesting)

scubamage (727538) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601832)

A) Can I use biodiesel?
B) Can I install a propane injection system like a normal diesel? That could put milage well over 100mpg if you could.

Re:My questions... (1)

Temkin (112574) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603752)

A) Can I use biodiesel?
I've come to the conclusion that bio-D is going to have a "green feel good tax" stuck on it for another decade. The people producing it refuse to even try and be price competitive with PD. They refer to it as a "premium alternative". So we're stuck making it ourselves, which isn't that hard really. But the quality varies with the feedstock, and nobody is going to honor a warranty...


B) Can I install a propane injection system like a normal diesel? That could put milage well over 100mpg if you could.
Propane fumigation does wonders for HP output. It's not injected, just introduced to the intake air. You could even plumb it up to the air filter box. But you're being somewhat disingenuous. Propane is not free.

it's about fscking time! (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 6 years ago | (#22601892)

It's about time. The very first hybrid I ever heard about was a VW diesel prototype. IIRC that was back in the 90s, and it was basically an electric car with a diesel generator built in.

Interesting (1)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 6 years ago | (#22602726)

In previous /. discussions of hybrid cars, I've seen claims that diesel hybrids were unlikely since the hybrid system wouldn't bring much of an advantage to a diesel car, because diesels scale their fuel consumption at low engine output (partial or no load) better than petrol cars. All you'd need would be a start/stop system. I'm looking forward to a proper test of this car against its rivals (including e.g. a BMW diesel with their 'efficient dynamics' package).

America needs to wakeup to diesel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22602880)

I am sure the big oil businesses will try their hardest to stop diesel powered cars in the US. Diesel gives us the option to use biodiesel and bypass the oil companies. Gas (non-diesel) cars can only use gas.

Makes lots of sense (1)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603620)

Diesel-electric locomotives have been used by railroads since the 1920s, and have proven to be extremely practical devices by using the diesel engine to drive alternator, which in turn provides power to traction motors on the wheels. Although this configuration appears quite a bit more complex on the surface, it completely eliminates the need for a mechanical transmission, and offers greatly improved reliability and efficiency. Virtually every diesel locomotive today operates in this fashion.

Although they're not strictly hybrids, as there is no regenerative braking, several locomotives which incorporate batteries and regenerative braking are in development, and promise to cut emissions by 50% and reduce costs by up to 20%. If these claims turn out to be even remotely accurate, the next generation of railroad locomotives will all almost certainly use such a design.

It's easy to see how this can all extend to cars. Although Americans for some reason have a strong aversion to diesel cars, they've proven to be extremely popular, efficient, and reliable in Europe. A true diesel-electric hybrid is naturally the next step.

If we can work out a viable energy storage mechanism (better batteries/supercapacitors/flywheels) and completely de-couple the diesel "power plant" from the mechanical drivetrain, we can come very close to achieving "optimal" energy efficiency in a fuel-burning vehicle. The electric engine must be fast and responsive enough to run at all speeds, and the diesel engine only kicks in to recharge the vehicle (and does so running with a predetermined "optimal" throttle)

Solution in search of a problem (2, Interesting)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603674)

The VW diesels already get better freeway mileage than anything else for sale in the US - Japanese hybrids included. But yet diesels don't sell in anything other than trucks at any appreciable rate in the US.

And if you are asking why, you just need to look back to the 1970's - when the US big three so royally screwed up the application of diesel engines for sedans that many American buyers would never consider them again. Those were cars that got poor mileage, belched out soot that nearly forced you to repaint your house, and had horrendous reliability to boot. And don't forget about the noise, either.

Unfortunately, it appears that the same anti-diesel people from the 70's have risen to be the CEOs at the big three in the current decade. We know that all three are making diesel sedans - and selling them well overseas. The ford focus and dodge caliber are just two examples of small vehicles made by US auto makers that are available as diesels in other markets.

So really, whats the point of making a diesel-electric hybrid? Are there that many people outside of this country that think its a great idea to lug around a trunk full of batteries?

I know I am not alone in saying I'd be happy to buy a diesel sedan from the big three if they would wake up and sell one here.

why is the mpg so low? (1)

steak (145650) | more than 6 years ago | (#22603822)

don't the polo diesels already in production get like 74 mpg?
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