I’m encouraged by the Wrangler Unlimited EV as far as fuel-efficiency options go, but it seems like there is room for both diesel and electric R&D in the market and these cars should be available on dealer lots now, not 5-10 years from now. Not that I don’t need that time to hoard the pile of pennies necessary to buy such a thing, but I’m hoping that the European influence will help to further promote the exploration of fuel alternatives.
I think you’re closer to right than you think. A diesel-hybrid would be the best of both worlds. I wonder if Chrysler will do such a thing, though. At the Detroit Auto Show, Chrysler’s section had a whole bunch of muscle cars and what not, but rotating on the pedestal-showrooms were electric vehicles. Not any electric vehicles, but impractical electric sports cars. I suppose you have to push the technology in that way, to find its limits, however, there weren’t any Prius-type or even Volt-type offerings, which was funny, because when I went through the show, the Volt was the last thing I saw before I saw Chrysler’s area.
There is no benefit to adding hybrid technology to the demographic market of jeeps. Small turbo-diesels would provide more torque and better fuel economy so that would be the best fit of technology.
Also an interesting point. Do you market for the crowd that actually goes off-roading and keep on going on with the direction in which the brand has been going, or do you exorcise yourself of that group of people and go another direction?
Diesels in small trucks and cars have always been just a couple years away for about the last 15 years. The problem is it costs so much to clean up the emissions that it costs too much up front so you’ll never get your money back in fuel savings. Combine this with the way diesel is taxed in the US compared to gasoline it often costs more per mile to drive a diesel even though it will get better miles per gallon.
You’ll have to cite something to back this up. Modern diesels are cleaner and bio-diesel fuel is more energy dense than regular diesel. There is zero downside to a diesel in comparison to a hybrid for full-use automobiles.
You market to the crowd that buys your product. Jeeps are used by people who tow or haul stuff. It is the quintessential utility vehicle. It would be branding suicide to abandon core buyers in search of a niche market.
I never said diesel couldn’t be clean or get good fuel mileage. It just costs to much to do it in the US that it’s cheaper overall just to drive a gasoline powered car
I disagree. The cars exist and are more efficient but few companies are selling them in the US. Honda was suppose to introduce a turbo diesel Accord in 2010 but backed out.
It isn’t just about catering to a niche market anymore, or at least it shouldn’t be in my humble opinion. I think there are a growing number of people who are willing to spend a little bit more money if they knew that money was going to promote a shift away from the status quo. I don’t mind buying what ends up being an automotive betamax in the short term, as long as there is innovation that produces something better for me, for others, and for the planet in the long term.
Why did they back out? If they do exist why don’t you go ahead and provide an example of a diesel powered car that can meet US exhaust emissions where the extra initial cost of the diesel engine and the extra operating costs (diesel costs 15 cents more per gallon) are less than the gasoline version?
I don’t know. I would be guessing that they found out it would compete against their own hybrid cars.
VW has 4 diesel models out and Mercedes is bringing one out in 2010.
Historically, diesel has always been a hard-sell in the US. I don’t know if it’s because it won’t sell, or if the manufacturer don’t think it’ll sell, and thus don’t bring 'em here.
It’s a shame really as diesel with zero EV gadgetry can get stellar mileage. (Top Gear did a show where a high end BMW diesel got better gas mileage, more comfortably than the two economy minded competitors.)
I own a Jeep.
And yes, it has gone offroad and has come back completely covered in mud. And I wasn’t doing anything extreme. I don’t use it very often nowadays. I believe in choosing the right tool for the mission. For commuting and most trips, I drive a Prius. But if I have to haul a bunch of stuff or pull a trailer, I drive the Jeep. If I’m going to be on dirt roads, I drive the Jeep When it snows, I drive the Jeep. For me, the ‘Utility’ part of SUV is why I have it.
I’d have a Wrangler if I needed it, but I don’t. If I did, I’d want a gas or Diesel engine. A hybrid Jeep isn’t what Jeeps are.
Audi’s TDI clean diesel seems to be doing well enough in the US to win some awards.
That’s what I’d initially think, but I haven’t done any kind of analysis on it.
You’ve hit one of the nails on the head. The Oldsmobile diesel option in the 80’s was slow, noisy and prone to mechanical failure due to the fuel injection system. It poisoned the well for years. The early Mercedes attempts didn’t help the cause much. These cars poisoned the well so badly that hybrids were able to make inroads into the US market for fuel efficient vehicles. In Europe the more cost effective diesel became king as a matter of necessity due to higher gas taxes.
As I stated earlier, I think Honda pulled their diesel Accord because it would eat into their hybrid market. My reasoning for this is that hybrids by themselves are not cost effective (at least in smaller cars). They are purchased by people who are willing to pay more for a product for personal reasons. They fall into the same category of solar sells on houses. If a fuel efficient diesel can compete with a hybrid and provide more utility then it will eat away at the demographic market currently held by hybrids.
Would you own a Prius and a jeep if you could buy something like an Accord with a turbo diesel that gets 50 mpg on the highway and could tow a boat? You own 2 cars because you can’t get the utility you need from either of them.
I would personally LOVE a small Escort sized wagon with a turbo-diesel. It would be fun to drive and give me everything I need.
That’s pretty much where I’m at too, wanting one vehicle to give us the best we can get out of both worlds. We currently have a Subaru Outback, but it can be a bit small and lacking of power for some of the things we occasionally want to do with it. We also own a 2WD Tacoma pickup which also has limitations of interior space and lack of 4WD or AWD. Both are relatively decent for gas mileage.
We get about 80% of the utility we need when you consider both vehicles. We’d like a single vehicle that gives us 100% of the utility we need while also going as green as possible.
Back during the fuel crisis of 1979 diesels sold pretty well. They had two problems, though, one specific to a manufacturer.
GM marketed a diesel in their Oldsmobile division. The engine had huge problems. The cars more or less destroyed themselves in very short order. As a result, diesels got a very bad reputation for reliability and quality that they haven’t really lived down to this day.
The other problem was easily observed by looking at the back of a diesel VW Rabbit. It was black. Coal black. Diesel cars were incredibly dirty, almost without exception. Environmentalism wasn’t then what it is now, but all the same it didn’t take a genius to see that they were incredibly polluting.
The US market still hasn’t recovered.