electric cars sound great in theory with their instant torque, near silent
operation, and lack of fossil fuel emissions, many people are still
apprehensive about "range
anxiety" when the batteries start running low. Thankfully, we have a
number of options on the table when it comes "green" vehicles.
Some manufacturers like to rely on hybrid technology to
achieve crazy EPA numbers (Toyota
Prius is EPA rated at 50 mpg combined). Others choose to put hyper-optimized
traditional gasoline engines in their vehicles (the Ford
Elantra, and Chevrolet
Cruze can achieve 40 mpg+ on the highway depending on trim level).
Another option is to use diesel engines. However, according
to Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s group vice president for global product development,
diesel engines will be relegated to its heavy duty trucks and won't be
filtering down into its more consumer-friendly passenger vehicles.
Kuzak brags that Ford "could easily bring diesels to
the U. S. market" since it already offers a number of diesel powertrain
options around the globe in its vehicles. “It doesn’t make sense. We are not
going to force it on customers,” he added.
Kuzak went on
to tell Automotive News that
there are a number of factors going against bringing diesel engines to
mainstream cars including:
Interestingly, points one and four could easily be leveled
against hybrid vehicles, yet Ford has an impressive hybrid in its stable already
with the Fusion
Hybrid (41 mpg city, 36 mpg highway).
According to Kuzak, Ford will continue to use advanced
powertrains like EcoBoost (turbocharging + direct injection) and direct
injection alone to achieve "near diesel" EPA ratings in its vehicles.
Despite Ford's reluctance to use diesel engines, archrival
General Motors is reportedly eyeing a diesel engine for its U.S.
market Cruze compact sedan. Likewise, Audi -- although it is a higher tier
brand than Ford -- is looking to bring its diesel engines to three
more nameplates within the next 24 months.