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In the latest installment of the continuing video series being published on GM's FastLane Blog, this week Bob Lutz responds to the question: "What about diesel?" Clearly Lutz isn't a huge fan of diesel going forward, at least for the North American market. In a response similar to that given by Ford's Derrick Kuzak recently, he thinks the diesel efficiency advantage will largely be erased in the next years thanks to advances like gasoline direct injection, turbocharging and the coming of HCCI and it will happen at a much lower cost. Check out his entire response in the video after the jump.

[Source: General Motors]


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  • 20 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      I really enjoy reading all these comments on diesel engines from people that have never driven one.

      I have a diesel Skoda with a 1.9D engine from VW and I get 5.2L or less per 100Km which is around 45MPG. And that includes driving week long around the city.

      And yes these engines last forever, much much longer that any gas engine. The reason why some of you say that diesel engines give all sorts of problems, are those made by the big 3. For example the good diesel engines that GM has are made by Isuzu the ones from Chrysler are from Mercedes or VW and Ford are made by PSA.

      So how can Lutz be in favor of diesel engines if all they can make are gas engines.

      For example all the Japanese makers have great diesel engines specially Toyota.

      And if any of you want to try a great diesel engine take a look at BMW's 330d with
      6 in line with 231 cv and 51.02 kgm - 500 Nm and then you can say all you want.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Motorman I would love to see any data to back up that statement. Look at the warranties offered by Diesel engine manufactures. Ford powerstrokes had injector problems but that was a completely unique issue. In general diesel engines will last much longer that gasoline engines.

      I wonder if Bob Lutz is paying attention to VW's new diesel technologies.

      http://www.autobloggreen.com/2007/07/12/next-generation-volkswagen-engines-are-running/



      • 7 Years Ago
      Jimmy- Bulk storage is not the same as refined fuel sitting around in your car's tank or a fuel injector. If you dont' drive your car for a few months, the fuel will go stale. The varnish will screw up sensors, clog pumps and injectors. Ask any mechanic better yet, leave the fuel sitting in you gas trimmer this winter and see how well it starts and then runs next spring.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Oh dear, typical vested interest incremental innovation talk... :-D
      • 7 Years Ago
      HCCI wouldn't be possible but for the existence of diesel technology. Moreover diesel engines ARE by definition more efficient than gasoline engines. Read up on thermodynamic cycles and try and understand. My mercedes 350SDL from 1991 got 25mpg and weighed nearly 5000 lbs. I'm sick of hearing wah wah wah from the manufacturers cartel that they can't meet updated CAFE standards with current technology. Get over it.

      In that vein, I'd probably dismiss diesel technology too if my current stable had some of the worst in class diesel engines.
      • 7 Years Ago
      It seems odd that Lutz doesn't know that Honda and VW can meet emissions standards without urea injection. Diesel has not been overhyped, it really does make a huge improvement in efficiency. Hybrids have been overhyped by both manufactures and unrealistic EPA estimates. Electric drive has been exaggerated to the point it is more a religion than a technology.

      Tim, you said "liquid fuels ... don’t store well in tanks". Have you told this to ocean vessels spending months at sea with diesel fuel for power ? How about remote locations that depend on a seasonal diesel fuel shipment for all their power ?
      • 7 Years Ago
      i am going by people i know who own fleets of trucks. remember truck down time to a company costs them money because if the truck is out of service for any reason it is not making money.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Thats all fine and dandy, but the point isn't all about efficiency. It's also about torque, renewable fuel via biodiesel, and as many alternatives as possible to petrol
      • 7 Years Ago
      I am looking forward to the upcoming diesel choices from VW and Honda. These vehicles have already proven themselves in Europe. With a diesel, you have many choices for running the engine. Pure diesel, biodiesel or pure vegatable oil. Granted, you need a heater if you live where the temp gets below 40, but there are a number of conversion companies that offer some nicely engineered sytems that include a heater to keep the fuel in its liquid state. Diesels last longer, are more fuel efficient and powerful when compared to a similar displacement gas engine. If the US is serious about reducung oil imports, the diesel is the best quick answer. Hydrogen and electric still require the use of energy to produce the "fuel" for these choices of propulsion. In my area, diesel is about a 5% to 10% premium over regular gas. Given the 25-35 increase in fuel efficiency, it still makes sense to go diesel, especially if you want to help reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Mr. Lutz was quite right to point out the emissions problems for diesels, and when the additional costs for diesels and the extra emissions controls are added in, diesels end up costing as much or more, compared to hybrids of equivalent performance and milage. However, the real champs for efficiency and clean air are the plug-ins.

      There is still some use for diesels, especially when fueled by biodiesel, but the future is electric.
      • 7 Years Ago
      commercial and industrial diesel engines last a long time but check with you friends that have powerstroke fords and ask them about how long they last and the cost to repair. if they are honest they will tell you they ain't cheap. most companies with medium duty trucks have found out it is much less expensive to run gas engines than diesel. the gas engine are much cheaper to replace and they last just as long or longer
      • 7 Years Ago
      Does anyone know the emission differences between low sulfur petrol-diesel and B100? The fact is that liquid fuels (especially diesel and biodiesel) don’t store well in tanks or fuel systems.

      Anyway, Mr. Lutz said recently that the future is electric. They learned from the EV-1 that the general public will first have to become comfortable with BEVs by losing their fear of getting stranded. This paradigm shift must be completed in stages. Stage one was mild BAS stop-start hybrids. Stage two is parallel hybrids. Stage three is Plug-In hybrids with a “range extender” security blanket. Stage four is full Battery Electrics. That’s why GM chose e-Flex electric car with a range extender. It’s the most logical choice. This is doubly so once 10 minute “fast charge” in widely available.

      In 15-20 years or so, liquid biofuels and Hydrogen (as inefficient as it is) will only be used for the emergency back-up range extender, heavy hauling and long-range travel GM is putting so much capital into H2 because it won’t go “stale” when left in the “range extender” tank for long periods of time. Mr. Lutz also said that GM is worried that the fuel would go bad because many would never use the range extender.

      GM may actually be very right this time
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