Small hybrid cars,trucks plug-in, diesel-electric where are they?


#1

Couple weeks ago I sent an e-mail to Ford and Toyota. I wanted to know if they are planning to sell small trucks, like Ranger and Tacoma either with small 2.5 l diesel engine (like in Europe) or are they will bite the bullet and come out with a new small hybrid drivetrain for them. Unfortunatelly they did not raise my hopes up. What can we do to force them to sell fuel efficient small trucks in the US? Wouldn’t be great have a small diesel electric plug-in hybrid where you can get great mileage around town?



Just for reference:

http://www…hybrid.htm


#2

Ford, GM and Toyota would LOVE to sell such vehicles in the U.S. but at the moment Diesels are effectively banned in light duty vehicles due to EPA smog regulations.

Also, from drawing board to showroom takes at least 7 years for a brand new design…Detroit has never made a dime building econo-cars so they are very gun-shy about going there…The American consumer talks the talk, but they seldom walk the walk. It will take $5/gallon gasoline before Joe Sixpack will downsize…


#3

Dear Caddyman!

Thank you for the reply. I agree with you in parts but I do not aggre what you said about the EPA regulatons. Can you take a look this article?
http://www.cars.com/go/crp/buyingGuides/Story.jsp?section=Hybrid&story=HybridDiesel&subject=stories&referer=&year=2006

Here is a part of an above mentioned article:

The other advance is that Mercedes was running not on regular diesel fuel available in the United States, but rather on new diesel fuel that will go on sale in the United States, per government mandate, by September 2006. The fuel is similar to the diesel fuel offered in Europe and, according to a spokesman for the Diesel Technology Forum, will be “a few cents more” per gallon than current diesel fuel. It’s much, much cleaner burning.

So this type of fuel is readily available (we are in 2007) and cleaner burning? So whom the Epa try to fudge with their reasoning?


#4

California sets their own emissions standards and five other states follow CA rules. This was enough to stop VW from selling diesel powered cars in the United States. It prevents everyone else from even thinking about it. If it can’t be sold in California, it won’t be sold in the United States.


#5

Your article was old, Posted on 6/20/05.

The diesel hype did not enable them to pass California Emissions as they had hoped.

There is more to the picture. Our refineries are designed to produce a lot of gasoline. SOMEBODY has to buy it. A large switch to diesels would cause price and supply problems for that grade of fuel. Ramping up diesel production is impossible unless you can sell the resulting gasoline too. Lots of things going on backstage…


#6

There may be some diesels in that line with the new models. The engines have been available in Europe for some time, but they require cleaner fuel that we have had here. Finally the trucking industry has lost the fight and the new fuel (ULSD -Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel) is now available. They still need to get the new engines approved, so it may be the 2008 or 2009 models before they are available.

Keep in mind it is expensive to get all that testing done and there is just not a great deal of demand in the US. After all many people still remember the extremely poor diesels Detroit gave us in the 70’s.

Frankly I don’t see hybrids as being a great deal. Some advantages, but with out tax breaks, it is going to be hard to justify the additional cost.


#7

California sets their own emissions standards and five other states follow CA rules. This was enough to stop VW from selling diesel powered cars in the United States. It prevents everyone else from even thinking about it. If it can’t be sold in California, it won’t be sold in the United States

Well that is partly true. Few diesels have been sold in the US, but there are diesels being sold in the US. Few auto diesels were sold as 2007’s but prior they were available and they should make a comeback in 2008 or maybe 2009 model year. The problem was not California per say, but the junk fuel that was available in the US. The new fuel is not widely available so now they just need to get the modern clean engines certified.


#8

Frankly I don’t see hybrids as being a great deal. Some advantages, but with out tax breaks, it is going to be hard to justify the additional cost.

Exactly, and diesel hybrids would probably have enough advantage over small conventional diesels to justify the complexity/cost. I agree that we will see a selection of U.S. spec diesels by 2008-2010. It is my understanding that benz is licensing their emissions control technology to VW and that honda has their own system.


#9

Sorry, I meant “would not have.”

We need an edit feature!


#10

Many have complained about the lack of an “edit” feature and the sometimes missing cursor but no one seems to be listening…And the no automatic log-in can be a pain too…

I read somewhere that the Benz technology used a CAT to reduce NOx and a replaceable soot trap in the exhaust too…


#11

I don’t know all the details of the benz BLUETEC or honda systems, but I found this:

http://www.mbusa.com/campaigns/press-release.do?height=1300&path=http://www.mblink.mbusa.com/Inetapps/PressReleases.nsf/Inews2/6DCAA2E1121B953B8525715E004F84F8?OpenDocument


#12

If you get manual transmission equipped small trucks, you should get local gas mileage in the 24 MPG range, and 30 or better on the highway. Maybe better and maybe even with AC.