Volkswagen on Diesels: Where is the Love?
August 22, 2013 10:26 AM
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VW wants more incentives
Volkswagen AG (VW) wants diesel vehicles to get federal and state incentives similar to those for electric vehicles (EVs). Instead, the automaker feels diesels are "penalized."
“We’re not feeling the love,” said Anna Schneider, vice president for industry and government relations at VW Group of America. “This is one of the greenest choices... It’s time the U.S. government included clean diesel in its ‘all of the above’ strategy’ for greening U.S. roads. Putting these vehicles on the road should be incentivized and not penalized, and that’s our goal.”
Diesels are about 30 percent more fuel efficient than gasoline vehicles, but the problem is that diesels have a higher carbon content than the gasoline-powered cars. For that reason, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said that diesels only cut carbon emissions by 7 to 20 percent.
Hence, diesels don't get the same treatment as EVs. EVs receive many advantages, such as federal and state tax credits, access to carpool lanes, etc. This is because EVs are seen as key contributors to "greening" the auto industry, and that's especially important right now with the new
54.5 MPG CAFE standards
in place for 2017-2025 model years.
In fact, these new standards don't give diesels additional credits the way it does other vehicles. The EPA said it doesn’t believe diesel vehicles push the commercialization of technologies that will help autos reach zero (or even near-zero) emissions. In addition, the EPA doesn't seem to think that diesels have an issue with "consumer acceptance."
Further hurting the cause of diesels is that 15 U.S. states place additional taxes on diesel, and federal taxes for diesels are 6 cents higher than those of gasoline-powered autos.
EVs, on the other hand, are eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit.
VW is a known promoter of diesel vehicles. For instance, the company confirmed
its XL1 hybrid
for production earlier this year. The two-seat Volkswagen XL1 has a plug-in diesel hybrid system that allows it to achieve 314 MPG and 31 miles on electric power alone. The CO2 emissions sits at 21 g/km, and it is considered the most aerodynamic car with a Cd figure of 0.189. It's also very light at just 1,752 pounds.
The Detroit News
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Diesel is dead, at least in the US
8/22/2013 4:56:14 PM
I live in Washington state and recently I purchased a brand new 2013 Camry LE, however I test drove 2013 Passat TDI three times at the various dealers including one in Oregon (because of the insane $4k special discount on one specific car on their lot)
Here's what I found after thorough comparison of 2013 Camry LE and 2013 Passat TDI
Passat TDI's advantage compared to Camry - significantly better mileage. Also the look is slightly better, more classy, both internal and external. Cabin materials are a bit better, vinyl in Passat was somewhat better than cloth in Camry.
Passat TDI's disadvantage compared to Camry - significantly higher price, quite a bit lower reliability, significantly higher cost of service (I compared recommended scheduled service for the first 5 years between them, asked a few dealers and independent garages around, and compared prices both for scheduled and non-scheduled (major breakup) work), plus the brake pedal feel in Passat TDI is really weird and bad compared to Camry, it's really soft and mushy, you don't feel anything but then you press pedal a millimeter further and suddenly breaks GRAB the wheels real strong, this is much worse and non-linear feel compared to the linear breaks in Camry that have better firmer pedal and they don't GRAB your wheels suddenly. I drove three different Passat TDI models to make sure this is the issue specific to all of them, not to just one random car I tested.Also Passat's cabin felt a little bit more cramped, less spacious and more noisy on a highway compared to Camry, it was a small difference but I noticed it and my wife noticed it even more. Also the ride in Passat was too stiff and not smooth enough to our taste. IMHO Camry is much closer to those cushy super soft and silent luxury cars (Lexus!) than Passat.
Overall I realized that a normal middle class family vehicle craving consumer like me would go for a diesel only if Toyota makes one, with low price, high reliability, and low maintenance costs (typical feats of any midsize midprice Toyota car). In this case advantages from higher mileage will not be compensated by much higher purchase price and much higher maintenance costs (multiplied by typical low reliability of VW cars).
But, to be honest, I don't see Toyota pushing for such a solution, they seem to be focused on hybrids, hence my title of death of diesel. Or maybe better said, not death but staying in a tiny niche as usual. VW can't raise their reliability, lower purchase cost and lower maintenance cost all at the same time, this is too much to ask from them.
I wish diesel became mainstream but unless Toyota invests heavily in diesels for consumer cars - this won't happen. And they won't since diesel already lost its chance to hybrids and BEVs like Leaf, Tesla, etc.
P.S. I smelled exhaust of both Camry and Passat TDI, surprisingly both don't smell at all. TDI smells just like nothing, it's a stream of odorless warm air from a pipe... same's true for Camry. So yeah, legends of "smelly diesels" look quite dumb to me, I wanna see an idiot here who tries to post one, then it'll be a field day for me haha :)))
RE: Diesel is dead, at least in the US
8/23/2013 8:09:48 AM
I wish I had points for upvoting.
RE: Diesel is dead, at least in the US
8/23/2013 4:25:43 PM
There has been a lot of research into producing clean diesels the last 10 years or so that are just starting to hit the North American markets the last couple of years.
It is tough to get certification for clean diesels passed in North America. We are really tough on new car emissions here.
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