April 8, 2012
Editor's Note -- This article was written back in early 2007. Since both diesel and hybrid cars have done little to reduce foreign oil dependence. It's obvious, both technologies are needed.
of Diesel states, "Mercedes, GM and even Honda,
are betting on a new breed of green diesels. The goal?
To leave hybrids in the dust."
First, let's be clear. There is no comparison between
clean diesel vehicles and hybrid
cars. PERIOD. It's no different than comparing
apples to oranges. Yes, both are fruit, but the
comparison really ends there.
Second, and the primary reason that there is no
comparison between clean diesels and hybrids, hybrid vehicles can also use clean
diesel technology. So, however efficient a clean diesel
is, a clean diesel hybrid will always be 20 to 30 percent more
efficient than just a clean diesel vehicle.
Ultimately, hybrid technology is not dependent upon
fuel - hybrids can utilize every fuel available - which is why Ford is working on the Reflex
diesel hybrid and Peugeot on the C-Matisse
Yes, even European automakers are buying into hybrid
Inevitably, as the EU
continues to become more aggressive in fighting CO2
emissions, diesel hybrids might be the only option left
Diesels compete with
Sure, it is true that in the short term, clean diesel
cars can compete with gasoline hybrid cars in terms of
fuel efficiency, but hybrid technology is only just
Within 3 years not only does Toyota
believe that it can cut the weight of hybrid powertrains in half, but the costs of
hybrid technology might be cut in half as well. This means greater fuel
efficiency at half the cost.
Consequently, in three years, a clean diesel hybrid
could be sold for less than the current markup on
today's gasoline powered hybrids. And, in three years,
if gas prices are close to three dollars, a hybrid
diesel will be a far better value than just a clean
Besides, imagine the
entire American fleet of automobiles was to convert to
clean diesel. That transition would take more than a
decade, a decade in which energy consumption is expected
to rise at least 20 percent and probably even more. As a
result the fuel efficiency gains made by converting all
automobiles in America into clean diesel would leave
America right where it is today - terribly dependant
upon foreign oil.
To fight America's
energy addiction, clean diesel simply isn't enough, not
by a long shot.
Fortunately, the gains that Toyota will
make in the next few years are only the beginning of
what hybrids can achieve. Just
like computers, hybrid technology will continually
achieve greater efficiency and cheaper costs.
Additionally, hybrid technology is an excellent platform
for the introduction of fuel cells into automobiles. As
fuel cells are so expensive, even smaller fuel cells could be
used at first to help bring costs down, and that's
Even better, hybrid
technology might demonstrate that fuel cells really
aren't needed to end foreign oil dependency and could
possibly even end oil dependency.
plug-in hybrid, for example, could go 40 miles on
electricity alone before needing any fuel. For most
Americans, this is enough to get to work and back.
Still, the Volt can use fuel to go 100's of miles beyond
the average 40 mile commute - why not make that a choice
of gasoline, flex-fuel, clean diesel or biodiesel.
And let's face it, a fuel cell vehicle costs almost $1
million today. On the other hand, a clean diesel plug-in
hybrid that could achieve well over 100 mpg could cost less than
$50,000 today. Also, such a clean diesel doesn't require the
infrastructure costs of a brand new 'hydrogen highway'.
Thus, to frame a debate between clean diesels and hybrid
vehicles is simply short-sighted and silly. Isn't it
about time we strive for greatness and not profit-driven
The technology needed to change the world
exists RIGHT NOW. Sure the batteries for a plug-in
hybrids probably need more research. So what? In the
interim, clean diesel hybrids make sense, as do
flex-fuel and bio-diesel hybrids.
Thus, the real question
is not whether America can end foreign oil
dependency, but does America have the
courage to end foreign oil dependency?'
--For an interesting
discussion check out Hybrid
cars versus diesel