Chicago Auto Show Blog

What We've Been Waiting For...

Posted by: Michelle Ferm

Yesterday, the Midwest Automotive Media Association held a presentation about Clean Diesel Fuel and what the future may have in store for the Automotive industry.

From the first diesel passenger car in 1930 to the ill-fated General Motors oil-burners of the 1980s to today's clean-burning low-sulfur models, diesel power has come a long, long way in the United States. One company that has helped the advancement of diesel technology through the years is Bosch. It's latest advancement, the common-rail system, revolutionized diesel efficiency and power output.

Thanks to the common rail design, direct injection, efficient turbochargers and the removal of sulfur from fuel, diesel power is enjoying a worldwide resurgence. Today, there are more than 15 diesel passenger cars in the U.S. Eight more are expected by 2012 and another 20 in 2013.

Lars Ullrich, director marketing and business excellence, at Bosch said that "diesel sales outpace hybrid sales in the U.S. and are expected to have a market penetration of 10 percent by 2015." One reason for that, claimed Ullrich is that alternative-powered vehicles, like diesel, can have a three-year cost savings of up to $3600.

Many consumers think that hybrids are the most fuel-efficient vehicles on the road which is true when you look at city EPA ratings. If you factor in highway ratings diesels often come out on top. That's because a diesel engine is the most efficient option available on the highway.

And that brings us full circle to a vehicle that was first unveiled at the 2010 Paris Motor Show, the Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4. As the name suggests this particular 3008 is a hybrid. This vehicle, which just recently went on sale in Europe, is the first diesel-powered hybrid and boasts fuel economy ratings of up to 62 mpg--this from an all-wheel-drive vehicle that's similar in size to the Honda Civic and Mazda 3.

Though it's not for sale in the U.S., the 3008 Hybrid4 is significant because it blends a hybrid's urban efficiency with a diesel-engine's highway efficiently and significantly bests the EPA's proposed 2025 target of 54.5 mpg. This and the cost of the 3008 Hybrid4 in Europe is roughly $1000 more than a conventionally powered model.

Guess we'll just have to wait some more . . .

3008 Hybrid4 1

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