Niagara Gazette — •••
Paradigm shift taking place regarding diesel power
Nearly a third of new car shoppers say they will consider a diesel-powered vehicle when it comes time to buy, signaling a major shift in the acceptance of diesel powertrains in the US. Consumer Reports recently sifted through a new survey conducted by the National Association for Convenience and Fuel Retailing and discovered that 31% of the 1,200 Americans surveyed said they would at least consider purchasing a diesel-powered vehicle within the next 2 years.
Not surprisingly, better fuel economy was cited as the number one reason for diesel consideration. Diesels typically get 20-25 percent better economy than their gasoline counterparts and return hybrid-like figures during highway cruising. Diesels were virtually non-existent in the U.S. market just a few years ago, but have now spread to most segments of the market.
Diesel-electric hybrid wins endurance race
An Audi R18 e-tron quattro took first place in this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race. Audi’s diesel-electric hybrid race car finished the race a full lap ahead of the runner up, a Toyota TS0030.
The carbon fiber-bodied R18 e-tron uses a diesel-electric hybrid drivetrain that uses an electric flywheel accumulator to store the kinetic energy that is generated when the brakes are applied. Active only above 75 mph, the system sends power to two electric motors that power the front wheels giving the car a noticeable acceleration boost. The rear wheels are driven by a 3.7-liter V6 turbo-diesel and are not linked to the hybrid setup. The powertrain cranks out over 626 lb-ft. of torque and about 500 horsepower. Audi credits the hybrid setup for enabling the car to come out on top.
Chrysler is recalling 2.7 million older Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs from model years ‘93 to ‘04 and Jeep Liberty SUVs from ‘02 to ‘07. The reason for the recall? The fuel tanks on these vehicles are situated behind the rear axle, possibly subjecting the tank in the event of a rear-end crash.