Thursday, January 15, 2009


Yesterday in response to my post about competing in an age of EVs, I had a strong response from a reader who was lamenting the fact that Tesla would fail but not because of small diesel engines running bio-diesel (which is where our car market -should- be going, but isn't).

In response to that comment I thought I would shed a little more light on the state of diesel in America.

Quietly and strongly the diesels of a new era are emerging. I say quietly, because hybrids are getting a great deal of attention, but that attention has ceased to deter the introduction and purchase of less-expensive, more reliable, more powerful, lower emitting, more environmentally friendly diesel engines (when compared to Hybrid) from a range of the biggest automakers.

Though there has been much press, perhaps Audi of America's EVP, Johan de Nysschen, said it best:

"There is also a national strategic imperative. The EPA estimates that if 1/3 of vehicles on the road in the U.S. were powered by clean diesel, then we would save 1.4 million barrels of oil per day. That happens to be the amount of oil we import daily from Saudi Arabia. We can dream about discovering new oil fields to make this country less dependent on foreign oil, or we can embrace the technology that achieves the same result today.....Hybrid technology has its place for heavy stop-and-go traffic. Plug-in electrics sound promising, but the reality is we simply move the emissions downstream to the power plant, and in any event, it will require very substantial investments in time and money to increase the generating capacity needed to facilitate the large scale commercialization of electrically powered vehicles...When it comes to fuel economy, environmental impact and cost of technology, clean diesel is a better option for the rapid commercialization of economically feasible alternative powertrain technologies.
Putting its money where its mouth is, Audi is bringing four models to the US in its core diesel group the Audi A3, the all-new Audi A4 sedan, the all-new Audi Q5 crossover, and the Audi Q7. Each powered by Audi TDI technology. These very cars traveled America on a 5,000 mile introductory tour between October 6th and 19th. The first will be in American garages this April.

If Audi wasn't convincing enough, BMW has brought a new brashness to its campaign.

BMW has brought diesel to the US in all 50 states for sale right now in both its 3 series and it X5. My parents, perhaps some of the toughest customers, even test drove one today. They were glowing. They haven't driven diesel since the 70's.

VW - perhaps beat everyone to the 50-state punch by bringing 3 of its most popular models to the the clean diesel party:

And then there is Mercedes Benz who for the last several years has been selling diesels in almost every state of the nation and just went into all 50 states with its full line of SUV's: the GL, M, and R class Bluetec Diesels.

Next up Kia, Cadillac, and then one in your garage.

Here is what you do:

Demand the government lower its antiquated tax on Diesel. Join the diesel revolution. Have fun and do something better right now for the environment. It is here. It is real. It is not a pipe dream. All the power, with even higher efficiency. Do it now!


Unknown said...

Audi, BMW, Mercesdes-Benz, VW. Mmm, I'm sensing a pattern here. Again, where are the US majors?!?

Probably taking their private jets to some golf course.

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