Despite telling us back in January that its Mercedes-Benz E320 BLUETEC would be compliant with emissions standards in all 50 states, DaimlerChrysler has announced that it has not reached that goal and the vehicle will only be sold in 45 states when it goes on sale this fall. The five states in which the E320 BLUETEC will not be sold include California, Maine, Massachussets, New York and Vermont. The high emissions standards required by these five states represent a major hurdle for any manufacturer that plans to introduce diesels-powered light-duty vehicles in the U.S. If DaimlerChrysler, a vocal proponent of diesel in the U.S., couldn't meet their requirements, we're certain it will be at least a year or two for other automakers to either convert their current diesel engines or develop all-new ones to meet the stiff requirements.
An E320 BLUTEC prototype tested by the EPA in 2004 narrowly missed meeting the EPA's new Tier 2 Bin 5 standard for 50-state compliance. When the car does arrive it will use an NOx absorber to reduce the output of the harmful emissions. Future BLUETEC models will use a urea-based injection system, which the EPA has yet to approve and regulate but promises to do so soon. Urea-based injection technology appears to be the best solution for getting diesels on U.S. soil as fast as possible, but the EPA has concerns over adding another fluid to vehicles that needs to be actively checked and refilled by the driver.
[Source: Green Car Congress]