• Sep 25, 2006
In conjunction with Honda's efforts towards bringing a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle to the States in 2008, plans are well underway to do the same thing for diesels that the automaker did for cleaner gasoline engines in the 70s.

Diesel-powered vehicles entering the U.S. have to meet stringent emission standards set by new legislation put into effect this year. Because of this hurdle, many manufacturers are looking towards using additives, like the urea-based injection system developed by DaimlerChrysler, to meet these standards.

Honda, on the other hand, is engineering a system that produces ammonia within the catalytic converter, changing harmful nitrogen oxide into just plain old nitrogen. The system is in the process of being tuned to accept a variety of diesel fuel, while still maintaining its low emissions, through chemical testing and programming through the federally mandated On Board Diagnostic System (OBD).

Honda plans on bringing the new diesel to the U.S. market within three years, soon after Volkswagen releases their own line of revamped diesels to consumers in 2008.

[Source: CNET]


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  • 30 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      diesel cars have about as much a chance becoming mainstream vehicles in the US as hatchbacks do. they will always be niche vehicles.

      why?

      when the fuel cost is factored in (diesel is usually 30-40 cents more per gallon), the advantage of gas vs. diesel evaporates. and don't forget the increased maintenence costs that a diesel will incur, too.

      I learned my lesson with diesel pickups. bought two trucks, one diesel, one gas. after 200,000 miles, the diesel had maintenence costs TRIPLE the cost of the gasoline truck. the fuel mileage difference was less than 3 miles per gallon.

      diesel engines run at much higher compression (22:1 vs. 9:1), so be prepared for many leaks from gaskets, etc. also, hell knows no wrath like a leaky injector pump; your car will smell like diesel inside forever.

      another factor to consider is where you drive. once you get off of interstate highways, diesel can be really hard to find; so hard, we used to carry two five gallon cans of diesel in case of emergencies. we used them at least once a month.

      diesel is popular in other parts of the world, because it is considerably cheaper than gasoline. not the case in the US.

      also, don't buy into the "diesel longevity" story, for two reasons:

      1) most people don't keep a car for 400,000 miles, and

      2) a well-maintained gasoline engine will last just as long, with minimal maintenence cost compared to the diesel.

      Mike
      • 8 Years Ago
      Ken,

      a diesel is a diesel. they all have super-high compression (they have to), and leaks will occur. if you don't believe it, drop a match on a puddle of diesel fuel. the match will go out. the high compression is the only this that will cause the diesel fuel to ignite.

      if you've never owned a diesel before, be sure to buy a glove. you'll need this at every fill-up. diesel fuel is just a few steps in in refinement from stones and twigs, and it doesn't evaporate. don't stand near the filler tube when the pump clicks off; it will usually shoot out and hit you. now, take the next few minutes to completely fill the tank; there will be about four gallons of foam (diesel fuel does this) in the tank that will need to go down before you can complete the fill-up. and stay away from pumps designed for semis; they pump even faster.

      I've never been one to understand the Honda "walk on water" attitude that many people have. to me, it's just another Japanese car company. I've bought and sold cars for many years, and I would wholesale one of these as fast as it came in. on the ones we kept, we got to be experts at replacing head gaskets and CV joints; they always needed them.

      what would really scare me is the thought of a company building their first diesel (like Honda), and buying one. in most of the other parts of the world, diesel is what everyone buys, and the engines have been around forever, with billions of road miles to prove them. not the case with Honda.

      another interesting fact is how many will have modifications made by owners for more performance. the first thing you do is turn up the injector pump (which decreases economy), and make more modifications from there. kind of defeats any fuel economy advantages, doesn't it?

      Mike
      • 8 Years Ago
      Funny how americans are dumping more things into the exhaust, while honda is figuring out a way to better filter the same exhaust... should be cheaper to run without haveing to but purified urine to dump into a tank on the car every once in a while too...
      • 8 Years Ago
      AZMike; Relax. No one's going to force you to buy one.
      • 8 Years Ago
      This news really doesn't surprize me. I read, with a lot of interest, that Honda (like several other manufacturers) FINALLY decided that they needed a diesel powerplant to be competitive in many NON-U.S. markets. Diesels, built by other companies, have been in the engine bays of Hondas for DECADES. Honda finally started producing it's own diesels and putting them in Accords a few years ago. The Euro CRV and the FRV (a small MPV not sold in North America) are also sold with an optional Honda diesel.
      The company that brought the world CCVC and V-TEC MAY be the same company to bring a non-urea using clean diesel to the markets of the world.
      • 8 Years Ago
      California's environmental wacko commission called CARB, will find some reason or way to reject Honda's clean diesel.

      Help....me, I'm being held captive on the Left Coast.............Help me!!!!!!!
      • 8 Years Ago
      Diesel fuel has at least 10% more energy content per unit volume than gasoline.
      So even with seasonal variability, even if it averages out to premium instead of regular, it is still cheaper per unit BTU.

      Where is the diesel VTEC, granted there might only be 0.5mm increase in valve lift, but the extra duration can help make cheap volume production 100hp/liter diesel engines.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I agree with Bill, I think this will be the move that finally makes americans want to buy diesels. I've always wanted one, but I'm not a VW fan. I'd like a 45mpg accord and a 30mpg tacoma (you listening, toyota?)
      • 8 Years Ago
      As someone based in the UK AKMike's comments make interesting reading. Diesel fuel here is approx 30-40c a gallon more expensive than Unleaded, yet diesel sales are still on the up. Times have changes since the 80s and fuel economy on diesels with Common Rail technology has left gasoline engines far behind.

      Yes, the price difference requires you to do more mileage to make up for the additional costs, but you will achieve far more than 3-4 mpg more.

      I agree though that the country's infrastructure will need to be updated so you can get it! And it needs to be Ultra Low Sulphur too.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Honda will rehabilitate the reputation of the diesel engine for personal vehicles in the US. There are a lot of people who would be interested in a diesel CAR, but can't afford a Mercedes, or aren't willing to risk a VW.
      • 8 Years Ago
      #4 is right on. Honda is about smart, well planned growth. They may take longer than others to come to market with a new technology, but, they usually do it right. A Honda-BMW alliance would rock!
      matt
      • 8 Years Ago
      sweet. I have a 2005 passat diesel. over 40 mpg, lots of power, sporty and luxo, and takes Biodiesel. Bring over more clean diesels please.......an 35 mpg awd diesel Pilot or Ridgeline? Hmmmm........
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