When it comes to building ultra-efficient cars for the U.S.
auto market, most manufacturers are going in one of two directions. You have
some that go the compact route with small 4-cylinder engines and those who
technology which can be found in compact and mid-sized sedans.
A third alternative, diesel, has floundered for the past two
decades in U.S. passenger cars. Volkswagen -- which in the past offered diesel
versions of its Passat, New Beetle, Golf and Jetta in the U.S. -- has no diesel
passenger cars for the 2007 model year due to tighter emissions regulations. In
fact, the only new car available with a diesel engine in the United States is
the Mercedes E320 BlueTec -- but that vehicle starts at a heart-stopping
Honda looks to change things, however, with its next
generation Accord family sedan. Honda's Accord has been one of the best selling
cars in the U.S. for the past 20 years. The Accord nameplate has been built
around a reputation for excellent resale value, great build quality, top-notch
reliability, and respectable fuel economy.
Honda first tried to further improve the Accord’s image for
"greenness" and fuel economy with the Accord
Hybrid. That vehicle used a 253HP 3.0 liter V6 engine paired with Honda's Integrated
Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid system. Honda promised performance greater than that
of a normal V6-powered Accord but with fuel economy closer to that of a
4-cylinder Accord. Honda's mileage claims never quite panned out with buyers of
the vehicles and sales of the hybrid never really took off.
Honda sold just 439 of its
mid-sized Accord Hybrids in May 2007 (hybrids represented roughly 1.4 percent
of all Accord sales). In comparison, Toyota’s Prius (also classified as a
mid-sized vehicle) and Camry Hybrid racked up sales of 24,009
units and 6,853 units respectively for May 2007.
This time around, however, Honda will use diesel power
instead of hybrid technology for its Accord, which has been redesigned for
the 2008 model year. According to the Japanese Nikkei newspaper, the new Accord will
have the option of a new Tier 2 Bin 5 diesel engine for the 2009 model year.
Honda showcased the
engine back in September 2006 and promised that it be used in U.S. passenger
cars within three years. Honda's 2.2-liter i-CTDi uses a revolutionary catalytic converter filled with ammonia to "detoxify" NOx produced by the
engine and convert it to nitrogen.
Honda isn’t the only manufacturer working on Tier 2 Bin 5
diesel engines for the U.S. car market. Volkswagen will come off its 2007
diesel slump with a new
TDI engine in 2008 and even performance-oriented Nissan is looking to get into
the diesel game in 2010 with its Maxima.
Honda’s position in the American auto market, however, makes
its introduction of diesel passenger sedans a huge turning point for diesel in
America and could go a long way to changing American opinion on diesel-powered
quote: also creating food crisis.
quote: However, because so few cars in the US run on diesel, there isn't much demand for it, so there isn't much supply.
quote: Also rumor has it that home heating fuel is basically diesel fuel with a different tax base (and perhaps slightly different processing).
quote: Considering that diesel is about $.80 less than gas here in mid-California, yeah, I'd like my next vehicle to be clean diesel as well.
quote: Or better yet, Citgo?
quote: After Katrina Chavez sent New Orleans a tanker full of refined gas. All Bush sent was Brownie.
quote: US Presidents have done much more wild things than Bush I believe is even possible of imagining, and the rule of law persisted, still persists, and will continue to do so.
quote: How could a car produce its own ammonia? That's crazy talk.
quote: "Honda’s new diesel, targeted for introduction in the US by 2009, will not use a urea-based SCR system to meet the US Tier 2 Bin 5 standards. (Earlier post.) Instead, it is using a combination of an advanced combustion management (PCCI) and a new NOx catalytic converter, about which it provided more details.The new catalytic converter utilizes a two-layer structure: one layer adsorbs NOx from the exhaust gas and converts a portion of it into ammonia, while the other layer adsorbs the resulting ammonia, and uses it later in a reaction that converts the remaining NOx in the exhaust into nitrogen (N2).Ammonia is a highly effective reagent for reducing NOx into N2 in an oxygen-rich, lean-burn atmosphere—urea-based SCR system derive ammonia from the urea.Honda’s ability to generate and store ammonia within the catalytic converter enables the creation of a compact, lightweight NOx reduction system for diesel engines. The system also features enhanced NOx reduction performance at 200–300ºC, the main temperature range of diesel engines."
quote: I have that 3.0L engine. It is low powered for the displacement, and has the same fuel economy as the 4.0 (~20mpg in the city).
quote: Remember, we're talking about a truck here. HP/torque is needed to haul loads, not to burn rubber and act cool.
quote: Ignorance is bliss isn't it?
quote: I dont give a shit about the environment and the gov. should know this...dont get me started on the global warming propganda...
quote: Selective catalyst reduction (SCR) systems are almost a must, but these require a source of ammonia/urea that is refilled periodically. There is currently no infrastructure in the US for wide-scale distribution.
quote: I sure hope this spurs Chevy and Ford to get on with offering diesel's in their product lineup.
quote: Agreed about Americans being tunnel visioned with just US version of Websites. Check out www.honda.co.uk or www.mini.co.uk or www.vw.co.uk for cars that are nearly identical, but offer diesels
quote: And honestly I'm glad we have the stop lights. Because people drive like crap enough as it is.
quote: In a nuttshell, people are buying prius' to save money for themselves, with the environment a secondary point of purchase.
quote: how many pickups are used in a built up area?
quote: Lots of Americans drive trucks but not for the reasons you just pulled out of your ass. Think of something original - America bashing is so 1970s.
quote: People here in the US to love to drive pickups because they think they're safer (yes a heavy truck with no rear traction in the rain or snow and that takes longer to brake is safer....) and, since a lot of Americans drive like shit, they like to be able to change lanes and just hit anyone in a car that doesn't move out of their way.
quote: NOx emission laws are a pretty sorry excuse
quote: European cars have tended to use less fuel (due almost entirely to the high fuel costs) but burn that fuel much less cleanly than vehicles in North America.
quote: But who cares about MPG, when your building a hotrod.
quote: My immature teenager desires of cool/awesome factors in my cars has gone away
quote: Don't take this the wrong way, but I don't think that there would be much of a market in the US for a French-brand car.
quote: The SECOND you start placing limitations of peoples freedom
quote: Rome was good, and wasn't horribly inaccurate
quote: The left's never satisfied, is it?