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Bosch was at the the AFVI Expo in Las Vegas this week touting two things: that huge CNG hydraulic hybrid refuse truck and the company's work bringing more diesel vehicles to American roads. As Bosch announced early in the week, the push for oil burners is having an effect. We spoke with Bosch's director of marketing of diesel systems, Lars Ullrich, who said:
Especially in the age group between 25 and 45, people are really drawn to diesels. They do not have the opinion of the '70s, when diesels were loud, stinky and slow.
This is all partly Bosch's fault. For the last six or seven years, the company – which makes parts for all sorts of vehicle powertrains and other parts of the car, as well as industrial systems and household items – has been promoting diesels through things like ride and drives with diesel Smart Fortwos and some Audi and Volkswagen models. Diesels really made a comeback in 2009, and there are about a dozen diesel models currently available in the U.S.

What does the future hold for diesels here? While J.D. Power predicts diesels will make up eight percent of the U.S. market in 2015, Bosch predicts it'll be 10 percent (down from a 15 percent prediction a few years ago thanks to the recession and some companies – i.e., Acura – canceling diesel models).

Will more diesels mean more biodiesel? Ullrich was hesitant:
In general, we are really focused on having the right fuel standards in place. From a Bosch perspective, the components can be adjusted to that, however, we wanted to sure that the right fuel quality and enforcement is in place to make sure we can bring components into a stable enough market where we don't see any big negative impact.

[Source: Bosch]


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  • 23 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      The success of modern day clean diesel passenger cars in the US market is heavily dependent on the quality of US diesel fuel. Some of these modern common rail diesel engines with high pressure fuel pump won't last very long with crap US made diesel. Just because the "new" diesel meets the low sulfur specification doesn't mean it's ready for these cars.

      Diesel is already a proven technology, it's a winner around the world in the passenger car market, just not in the US. Even Japanese car companies offer diesel option in many non US markets.

      What Bosch is doing now is they first need to help US ULSD producers meet the industry standard and improve the infrastructures to deliver good quality diesel before these modern diesel cars can be sold successfully in the US market.

      So far, only the Germans have the balls to ship these new generation clean diesel cars to the north American market.
      harlanx6
      • 5 Years Ago
      All I can say is Kudos to Bosch, and phwwww to Dan.
      • 5 Years Ago
      >I agree that the Prius is "better" WTW than the Jetta TDI per GREET, but as you mention, it's largely because of the design of the vehicle itself, not because hybrid technology is inherently "better" than diesel technology. I'd be interested to see what a small diesel could achieve in a Prius vehicle, even with a more or less conventional transmission.<

      That's right, these German diesels aren't intended as a direct comparison to the Prius from the start. Even in its conventional gas engine form, one wouldn't cross shop a VW car with a Toyota. There are more in owning a car than just mpg such as driving dynamic. Diesel cars exist because there is a market demand, even Infiniti offers diesel engine in Europe.

      Don't bring in the crap about Prius energy efficiency. Prius is not efficient at all, it's not even efficient in bring one from A to B. Whenever I visit really crowded overseas cities like Hong Kong or Taipei, I don't drive around in a hybrid, I take the transit system and bus, I emit far less CO2 then any hybrid cars.

      This article is about bringing modern day diesel technologies into the US market and help manufacturers apply them to the suitable market segments.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "Especially in the age group between 25 and 45, people are really drawn to diesels."

      Overstatement given low US sales? Or they are really drawn to diesels and then don't buy?

      Soot emissions are also mentioned in Wikipedia for diesel engines (particle filter or not it will still emit and CO2 is lot higher at same mpg). There should be better options to meet CAFE but unfortunately it's based on highway only and diesels would do the trick so then it becomes pretty convenient to say how much people love diesels (same as touting high diesel % by VW/Audi and then ignore absolute numbers and not offer diesels for high volume Audi vehicles).
        • 5 Years Ago
        Ah ok got it. They look at the entire process which is fair. NOx and small particle emissions is still something bad imo with diesels and hybrids probably way to go for 2016 CAFE (long term obviously something else).
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Diesel particulate filters (DPF) on new diesels do such a good job on PM"

        I disagree since even with DPF they still emit very small particle matter (typically still up to 15%). DPF became required after numerous studies in 90's that these particles are cancerous and they had to be removed/limited. Even though DPF removes most of the particles a big increase in diesels would decrease air quality. And we haven't talked about maintenance of these filters.

        I agree hybrids only are not the answer and obviously CAFE 2016 has its flaws.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Not to be impolite, but you are flat our incorrect in stating "CO2 is a lot higher at same mpg."

        The California Air Resources Board turned to UC Berkeley researchers for information leading to the adoption of its Low Carbon Fuel Standard. The UC academics found that in comparable vehicle platforms - one with a gasoline engine and the other with a diesel - the diesel emitted 22 percent less CO2 per mile than the gasoline version. See:

        http://www.arb.ca.gov/fuels/lcfs/lcfs_uc_p2.pdf (page 30-31)

        In my view, every available tool should be brought to bear in the fight for better fuel economy and lower tailpipe CO2 output. It makes no sense to pit one technology against another -- or place one above the other - when we face such serious environmental and energy security challenges. More tools mean more people helping.
        • 5 Years Ago
        If you're saying CO2 is higher for regular gasoline compared to diesel *at same mpg* then that would imply that:

        - EPA official formula is incorrect: http://www.epa.gov/oms/climate/420f05001.htm. 14% higher emissions for diesel
        - All official European CO2 numbers are incorrect (just compare 2 cars with same MPG number and notice difference in CO2 numbers)
        - Wikipedia.org articles are incorrect: check CO2 emissions diesel
        - Car & Driver and motorTrend recent articles are all incorrect as well
        ...

        Hybrid CO2 emissions I believe are about 20% lower than gasoline.
        • 5 Years Ago
        If you want to reach CAFE (35.5 mpg) by 2016, the American passenger vehicle fleet will need more diesels, hybrids, battery electrics and all other advanced technologies that dramatically improve fuel economy. Why on earth would anyone want to limit the options of American auto consumers to just one powertrain option - hybrids?

        Diesel particulate filters (DPF) on new diesels do such a good job on PM that CARB is considering requiring gasoline particulate filters on advanced gasoline engines. See:

        http://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/levprog/leviii/meetings/051810/pm_disc_paper-v6.pdf

        I'm not suggesting this is a great idea, only that DPF has already achieved PM reduction so well that regulators are considering a rule to emulate that technology on gasoline direct injection engines.

        As for NOx, light-duty diesel finally met the same California ULEV NOx standards in 2009 (beginning with the Jetta TDI followed by other models) that gasoline models had to meet beginning in 1996 under California's LEV II tailpipe emissions standard, which is being updated this year to LEV III. Under LEV III, diesel will have to meet the same SULEV NOx fleet average as gasoline vehicles beginning with the 2014 model year.

        In sum, the old canards about the inferiority of diesel emissions technology are falling by the wayside, one at a time. This is good news for those who truly want more people to participate in reducing this nation's dependence on imported oil and in reducing greenhouse gases.
        • 5 Years Ago
        tfulks is correct. If you will take the trouble to look at his referenced article. The refining process for diesel is different than the one for gasoline and the article is saying that when you look at the complete process "from well to wheel", carbon emissions for diesel are lower.

        Car and Driver, Wikipedia and Motor Trend have no special insight or expertise in greenhouse emissions. They are relying on EPA like everyone else.

        DOT says the carbon equivalent for diesel is higher also using a well to wheel approach, but that has been argued here before that their calculation is based on some old assumptions. I don't know, but what is clear is that careful calculations can differ by small amounts on which fuel emits less greenhouse gases and that hybrid versions have lower emissions. Also what is clear is that if large numbers of people switch to diesel automobiles the price of the fuel will go up faster than gasoline and the economies will be erased, especially since the yield of producing gasoline from oil is higher than producing diesel. For your next car it may not be a factor though.
      • 5 Years Ago
      In the US, I have yet to see diesels really make a splash in terms of energy efficiency (not MPG, see below), emissions, GHG, oil use.

      I have been looking on Fueleconomy.gov and the Diesel Jetta does not hold a candle to the Prius. The Diesel Jetta uses 4.7 more barrels of oil, 2.4 tons of CO2/GHG, and costs $507/year more for a typical 15,000 miles of driving a year. Fueleconomy.gov uses the GREET model which is “well to wheel”, so my conclusion is that *per MPG* gas emits less C02. This is because Diesel is more energy, carbon, oil and pollution dense per gallon from well to wheel.

      VW could do a better job at designing the rolling chassis of the Jetta. The Jetta TDI is 300 lb heavier, and the coefficient of drag is .36 vs .25. Both have a big impact on energy efficiency.

      I drive the original Honda Insight and my lifetime MPG is 65 MPG.

      From Fueleconomy.gov, “Full fuel-cycle estimates consider all steps in the use of a fuel, from production and refining to distribution and final use. Vehicle manufacture is excluded. (U.S. Department of Energy, GREET Model 1.8, Argonne National Laboratory)”
        • 5 Years Ago
        >...From Fueleconomy.gov, “Full fuel-cycle estimates consider all steps in the use of a fuel, from production and refining to distribution and final use. Vehicle manufacture is excluded. (U.S. Department of Energy, GREET Model 1.8, Argonne National Laboratory)”<


        That's fine, but if GREET 1.8 is used to estimate WTW emissions of conventional pollutants like VOC, CO, NOx, PM2.5, and SOx, diesel technology fares quite well compared to gas-hybrid technology. GREET v1.8 projects that the default/generic conventional diesel car will emit less of ALL conventional pollutants than the default/generic gasoline HEV other than NOx (and even that is better than the baseline gasser), through the period considered (2020). Notice this includes PM2.5, which many here continue to bash diesels for having, what they perceive, significantly higher emissions of. Fact is, if you take the significantly higher emissions/energy requirements in the "well-to-pump" portion of the WTW analysis, gasoline generally loses its apparent edge.

        I agree that the Prius is "better" WTW than the Jetta TDI per GREET, but as you mention, it's largely because of the design of the vehicle itself, not because hybrid technology is inherently "better" than diesel technology. I'd be interested to see what a small diesel could achieve in a Prius vehicle, even with a more or less conventional transmission.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "So far, only the Germans have the balls to ship these new generation clean diesel cars to the north American market."

      Balls? They already have diesel models so it's lot cheaper to modify them slightly for US market. Same for Bosch. Of course they see big opportunity getting piece of that business so they can make more money (as any other company).

      Key reason Europe has high % diesels is the high (taxed) fuel price and the subsidized price of diesel (in couple of countries). If gas would be $8 in the US than also more people would buy diesels and hybrids.

      Regarding Jetta and Prius it's a good example. Price is same but looking at real world MPG you'd get about 40% less CO2 emissions with Prius (ignoring other factors for now). The problem is it will take a very high investment by other car makers to generate some decent hybrid competition. But it will come...
      • 5 Years Ago
      >Balls? They already have diesel models so it's lot cheaper to modify them slightly for US market.<

      So Honda, Toyota don't have new generation diesel cars they can modify slightly for US market? How about the French and Italian?

      Let me repeat this again --> So far, only the Germans have the balls to ship these new generation clean diesel cars to the north American market.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Gasoline engines simply don't get the same mpg as diesel engines.

      That's the point of paying more upfront (but much less than for a hybrid) for a diesel.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Some new diesel vehicles are still loud, stinky and polluting especially large 5+L truck engines that are not required to meet emissions standards or report vehicle mileage.
        • 5 Years Ago
        So the black soot that eminates from their tailpipes is just my immagination. The vehicles might pass lax federal regulations when sold, but if maintenance is lacking and yearly inspection is not required then they become soot factories.
        • 5 Years Ago
        If you're seeing black smoke (particulate matter, PM) then it must not be a 2007 or newer engine, because you simply don't see smoke. The 2010 engines are even cleaner on NOx. Lax federal regulations? You mean the 2010 emissions reduction requirement that dropped heavy-duty diesel PM levels by more than 95 percent compared to 1994 levels, and NOx down to passenger car levels? It's the older trucks of that vintage that give all diesel a bad name. They will be gone at some point.
        • 5 Years Ago
        This article was about passenger vehicles, not large trucks. Still, the new 5+L trucks and over-the-road heavy-duty trucks are required to meet strict federal emissions regulations. They may be loud, in your opinion, but they are required to meet emissions standards, not an opinion.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The article says that the general population is now open to diesel because few people remember the terrible diesel engines from the 70's. I maintain that despite recent advances there are still many dirty polluting vehicles on the road, some that are only a few years old and that the population in general in the us will not eagerly adopt diesel engines en mass because of this.

        I don't think that diesel engines will significantly reduce co2 and that the rising cost of petroleum and weak support for bio-diesel will further hamper adoption.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Once again you had to have been stuck behind an older Mercedes diesel using a unit injector fuel system, as opposed to the MY 1996 and newer diesel models that use a common rail fuel injection system. This higher-pressure fuel management system, combined now with emissions after-treatment systems, helped dramatically improve tailpipe emissions. As a result of this innovation, the Europeans now have some 50 percent of their vehicles with diesel powertrains. The Europeans signed the Kyoto protocol calling for reduced greenhouse gas (CO2, etc.) production and turned to diesel to reduce the auto fleet GHG output.

        It appears some people who post to this site are deliberately ignoring the remarkable strides diesel technology has made during the past decade to reach near SULEV emissions levels. Apparently this is because new clean diesel as a way to improve vehicle tailpipe pollution and CO2 production runs counter to their hybrid-only, EV-only mindset. By ignoring the current state of diesel technology you diminish your argument in favor of your pet powertrain, in my opinion.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I was stuck on the freeway behind a Mercedes kerosene burner today, and
        almost suffocated. It was nasty.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I just can't believe that Lars has another career in addition to Metallica.
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