By on February 25, 2008

p0042483.JPGChannel4 reports that VW is set to unveil a "near-production" diesel-electric Golf at The Geneva International Auto Show. The battery-assisted oil-burner caims 70mpg while passing 50-state Tier-2 BIN 5 emissions standards. Not to be outgreened, Wired reports that BMW will ta-da its Vision EfficientDynamics Concept. The modded next gen X5 sports a 36mpg twin turbo diesel-electric drivetrain hooked-up to an eight-speed ZF autobox. (The Bimmer concept also boasts photovoltaic panels on the moonroof to preheat the transmission fluid and wheels that require one less horsepower to maintain 100mph than "standard" wheels.) As previously editorialized, the new diesel hybrids signal the end of German automakers' participation in the two-mode hybrid technology jointly developed with Chrysler and GM. Bottom line: BMW's hybrid diesel sips half the gas of a 3.0-liter X5; the Yukon Tahoe hybrid offers a 25 percent mpg gain. 

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12 Comments on “Diesel Hybrids Are On Their Way...”

  • avatar

    I’m certainly no GM homer.. but what’s to keep GM from mixing their sexy new V8 diesel with the two-mode hybrid tech and making a similar leap. Beyond the cost, of course…

  • avatar

    Considering the Diesel’s traditional thermal efficiency advantage, such a hybrid seems like a no-brainer.

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    Solar roof for pre-warming of transmission fluid? Exactly. These things have too much torque for their own good. (Yes, there is such a thing).

  • avatar

    “too much torque for their own good”

    I’ve never quite understood that kind of thinking. Just put a 2:3 gearing increase between the engine and transmission. Then, if your diesel engine produces 450 lb ft torque @ 1800 RPM and has a redline of 4500 RPM the transmission will see it as 300 fb ft @ 2700 RPM and a redline of 6750. Those revised figures closely match the characteristics of the 335i engine, so both of the 335i’s transmissions should be good to go.

  • avatar

    Interesting. Veddy, veddy interesting. I’ve always thought that diesels and hybrids would work well together. The cost must astronomical, though! Wouldn’t that almost double the price of the Golf?

  • avatar

    A diesel has a pretty broad range of peak efficiency. Like all ICEs they are less efficient outside of a particular range of RPMs, but that range is wider than gas engines. As a result, hybrids benefit gas engines more because of their narrower power bands. A mild hybrid diesel will give you most of the benefit of hybridization with out the complexity of a two-mode systems. Of course, there would be some savings with a two-mode vs. a mild, but consider how complicated those systems are PLUS how complicated the 50-state diesels are, and you have to wonder how you could sell such a vehicle at a profit.

  • avatar

    Question for EN: The graphic shows a fuel economy of 6.5 l/100 km (36.4 mpg). From there to the reported 70 mpg requires a mere 92% improvement. Is that for real?

  • avatar
    Edward Niedermeyer

    Engineer:Two different vehicles. The Bimmer gets 36.4 mpg which is a 50% increase over the 3 liter X5. The Golf gets the reputed 70mpg… you scared me for a second though…

  • avatar

    I always believed that there was some merrit in a “clean” tiny diesel generator running at a steady rpm that could keep the batteries charged .

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    “the new diesel hybrids signal the end of German automakers’ participation in the two-mode hybrid technology jointly developed with Chrysler and GM”

    I don’t know why there is any incompatibility between diesel and two mode hybrid. As I understood it, the two mode concept was first applied to crosstown buses.

  • avatar

    I was wondering when we would get diesel hybrids. Sounds like it’s soon.

  • avatar

    Great news to my household, which just obtained its second VW TDI. For me, one big problem with current hybrids is that they use any gas at all. I much prefer diesel fuel for its lack of VOC emissions, its relative inflammability in an accident, and most of all, for its easy compatibility with biofuel blends.

    Biofuels have been getting a bad rap lately based on the energy economics of corn ethanol, but soy biodiesel boasts returns 2.5 times its energy inputs to produce, according to National Geographic’s biofuels article of 10/07. That fact bears repeating in this context, IMHO.

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