Eco-Friendly Cars – Is There a Diesel Hybrid?

Lyle Ellerbee

We know that diesel vehicles are efficient and usually have a great life span allowing several years of use while still maintaining great overall mileage. Today we see that newly designed diesel engines are running cleaner and more efficient than ever. The same goes for hybrid technology as we see that vehicles are becoming more efficient and thanks to more durable batteries, we are getting more life out of the hybrid battery packs. In fact the battery packs are becoming so durable the companies such as Hyundai are giving a lifetime warranty on the battery packs of their hybrid vehicles. So it’s only a matter time before someone would try to merge a diesel and hybrid powertrain therefore producing a highly efficient vehicle.

At the 2012 Geneva Auto Show, Volkswagen introduced their off-road concept vehicle that utilized a diesel-hybrid powertrain. The vehicle had a turbocharged 1.8 L diesel engine mated to an electric assisted motor and together Volkswagen claims up to 131 miles per gallon. They also claim that the 4000 pound vehicle can get from 0 to 60 in 6.5 seconds. Those results are pretty stunning and since this was a concept, you could pretty much say whatever you wanted to about your product because nobody would be able to drive it. Yet Volkswagen has already been caught testing another diesel-hybrid yet in a car form, sort of.

Volkswagen has been working on a diesel-hybrid car under the name of XL1. The 2014 Volkswagen XL1 uses a 800cc Turbo-diesel engine to produce less than 50 horse power but around 89 pound feet of torque. Then the 27 horse power electric motor assists the diesel engine helping to push the 1749 pound car. Volkswagen is claiming up to 235 miles per gallon with this ultra light and streamlined vehicle. With so little power it appears that the vehicle won’t be winning you any races unless you’re going for extreme distance. But what is neat about these Volkswagens the fact that the company is working on developing highly efficient vehicles by using off-the-shelf technology. So therefore if we can simply get Americans to start purchasing diesel vehicles then we should see some diesel-electric vehicle development being driven by other manufacturers.

We see the trains today offer incredible efficiency thanks to diesel generators producing electricity in order to power the locomotive. So why couldn’t we do this with heavy-duty trucks as well as commercial grade vehicles therefore producing much better fuel efficiency and saving the business owner’s a fortune in fuel bills. Either way it looks though that Volkswagen is making headway with the technology and hopefully we will see other companies catch on and start producing diesel-hybrid vehicles. For 2013 we will start to see diesels coming into American markets but still all depends whether the vehicles sell or not.

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