I couldn’t help but notice a diesel-based group of articles on my news feeds this morning.
Ever since I first started this site I was cheering for a Saab diesel entrant in the US market once conditions became favourable, which they have to a degree with the rollout of low-sulfur diesel fuel in the US. The main barrier to entry now is the new US emission legislation, which is incredibly tough to conform with.
This site was also pretty critical of GM and Saab USA for not having a vehicle ready to meet these standards in a timely manner.
These most recent news reports, however, are showing just how tough it’s been to get a complying engine to market:
Volkswagen won’t have MY2007 diesels as they can’t get a complying powertrain ready in time. Their solution – ramp up and overproduce MY2006 vehicles in order to have diesel stock to sell in 2007.
Mercedes Benz were the talk of the town when they declared that their new Bluetec diesels would be compliant in all 50 US states.
Autoblog are reporting that the Bluetec Benzes have failed testing in 5 US states, however, and will now be available in 45 out of the 50. The states to miss out are California (whodathunkit), Vermont, New York, Maine and Massachussetts.
The commonly-held best solution for getting diesels on the road faster is a process called urea injection. The fluid is injected into the exhaust system and it neutralizes a significant portion of the NOx contained in the exhaust gases. It’s not only effective, but it’s also cheaper than the competing NOx traps currently used.
The Problems, again from Autoblog:
1. It’s another fluid for owners to monitor and the EPA is concerned about the ability of people to maintain it properly, even though a tank of the stuff should last around a year.
2. It freezes at 11 degrees F.
3. Making sure the fluid is widely available and easy to use.
So is all this worth it?
Leftlane News reports the following:
The potential diesel market in the states is huge and to the winner will go the spoils. Let’s hope that Saab can get a foot in the door sooner rather than later.