The Case for Diesel Engines: Audi

Posted: November 2, 2010 in Being Green, Green Technology

By 2015 the entire Audi lineup will have diesel engines ranging from their full size sedans (A8, A6), SUVs (Q5, Q7), to its smaller cars (A3, A4).  Likely the only car to not have it will be the R8 (though I would imaging a TDI R8 would be quite a tech tour de force) .  Interestly – the A3 – over half sales are with diesel engine.  In fact recently – of all car brands selling light vehicle diesel engines – the adoption rate is at least 1/3rd.  Diesels are gaining traction here in the US with near hybrid mileage, even lower emissions in production and use, and lower cost (diesel engine premium is still much less than a hybrids).  Read more at Auto News about Audi.

Diesels have come a long way from their stinky forebearers in the US with dirty fuel and GM’s terrible attempt to convert a gas v8 to diesel.  For instance:

  • Diesels are more reliable than gasoline engines with studies showing that engine life is at least 300km average lifetime before rebuild (some 60% longer than gasoline).  With new technology power is instant at low RPMs and NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) has been eliminated.  For instance, over the past 15 years diesel engines have reduced its noise levels by 60%, its emissions by 90%, and its fuel consumption by 30%, while increasing its output by 100%.  The LMP1 category in LeMans has been dominated by Audi and Peugot diesel engines for almost a decade.
  • Diesels are much more fuel efficient than a gasoline engine ~ 30% less than the corresponding gasoline-powered vehicle.  In fact some reviews with Diesel vs Hybrid technology – the diesel came out with higher MPG (Autoweek’s Ann Arbor-Lake Michigan drive cycle where the hybrid achieved 42 miles per gallon, but the diesel vehicle achieved 49 miles per gallon).
  • ~30% better fuel economy also reduces CO2 emissions by a further 20% s of CO2, which is a major contributor to global warming.  Biodiesel (produced from waste vegetable oils) can be used in diesel vehicles without engine modification.
  • In Europe pollutant emissions (in particular NOx and particulates) are strictly regulated to the same level as US’s Tier 2 Bin 5.  One drawback however is the need for urea based solution to further clean exhaust emissions – however technology is now providing advanced cat converters to do the same without urea.
  • Diesel engines are 3x more affordable than hybrids.   A diesel vehicle costs only slightly more than a comparable gasoline-powered vehicle ( 7 to 10%), which compares very favorably to the additional cost of a hybrid vehicle (17 to 25% for an electric/gasoline vehicle) – study by CNW Marketing Research, the total environmental cost of a hybrid car is very high if overall energy consumption is considered from vehicle design to end-of-life.

For more information on Europe studies in diesel engine technology, emissions, etc. visit: Diesel Powering Ahead.

  1. Diesels are the future until something better comes along. There is good reason why almost half the cars in Europe are diesel.

    • Europe has something of a gas tax making all fuel much more expensive – making fuel economy in their cars much more important. That helps push diesel technology as it is a cheaper and more reliable way to get the highest fuel economy from an ICE.

      • Sure does, we could do with a little more diesel technology in this country. They are much cleaner than they used to be and certainly cheaper than hybrids with mileage either the same and in many cases better than their counterparts.

  2. Dmitry says:

    In Russia, the problem with the fuel economy is not worth it.
    Invite the Russian-speaking audience in the community site AUDI Q7.

    Link in the signature set.

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