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Cooley On Cars
Do diesel hybrids make any sense?Why aren't carmakers making diesel hybrids? Cooley explains.
Hy folks, Brian Cooley here. Got another one of your emails about high tech cars and modern driving. This one comes in from Sagar P who wants to know about diesel hybrids. He says, why aren't car makers making them? To me, he says, they make more sense as diesel cars give better MPG then gas anyway. He'd love to see a diesel hybrid that he thinks could achieve 65 or more MPG. Well I love the number but there are some issues. The car industry has nosed around diesel hybrids a bit and here's where it kind of gets a little bit squirrely. First of all, are you gilding the lily? The diesel power plant already has very good energy efficiency relatively speaking. It gets a lot out of a gallon of diesel fuel. Does it need that much help or are you better applying electric boost to a gas engine that is frankly less efficient. Then you got this idea of redundancy. What's a diesel really great at asides from efficiency? Low end torque. What's an electric motor really great at aside from efficiency? Low end torque. You kind of don't elegantly spread the benefits. It's like hiring two players on your team that both do the same thing well and both have the same weaknesses. Then you've got this issue of expense As we know, diesel power plants cost more and do their exhaust scrubbing technologies, urea injection and additional catalyst cookers and that kinda thing. And electric motors, of course, aren't exactly cheap. Plus they got a big expensive battery and power electronics. So things get pricey really fast when you stack those two. And finally, speaking of stacking, once you've put all that gear into one car, can it move? How heavy would that be? Diesel power plants are heavy. Batteries are heavy. Electric motors and all their apparatus, you see where this is going. Now, that said, it doesn't mean the auto industry isn't currently marketing some Diesel hybrids. Land Rover sells a Diesel hybrid version of the Range Rover only in China, I think. The Jaguar J-Pace, it's cousin may soon offer the same power plant. Volvo sells a diesel hybrid version of the V60, at least in the U.K. market, not here in the U.S., and Audi has been showing a pre production model of their Q7 in e-tron diesel hybrid mode. But I don't know if that's actually gonna make it to the United States, and that's part of my final thought on this. Diesel in general, with or without a hybrid is not having happy days right now. Thanks to a combination of certain states' emission vehicle standards and the fuel trans now and in the future for gas and diesel liquid fuel and the fact the diesel got screwed up for every body. Thanks to DW, many car companies still are authorized to put new diesels in the market today because if BW. Either a dark future for that half of the diesel hybrid equation.