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Diesel Hybrid Electric Cars... Real Soon Now
Jamais Cascio, 1 Feb 06

My 2004 call for automakers to build hybrid-electric cars that use modern low-emissions diesel instead of gasoline -- diesel providing more energy/volume, therefore a higher base mileage -- remains one of the most popular posts we've ever done. I'm pleased to see that the idea is finally getting some traction. French automaker Peugeot-Citroen announced this week that it has designed two hybrid-electric cars using the high-efficiency HDi diesel engine. The prototypes deliver an average of 69 miles per gallon (US rating) combined city and highway mileage, with a record low emission of 90 grams of CO2 per kilometer. Like the Prius, the Peugeot-Citroen hybrids will have a low-speed all-electric mode, meaning that they'd be candidates for a plug-in hybrid refit.

Don't rush off to your local dealer yet, though; Peugeot-Citroen says that the hybrid technology is still a bit too costly to be able to sell the cars at a competitive price, but that they expect to have them on the road by 2010. Buyer demand is a funny thing, though, and sufficient consumer interest in a very high-mileage car might bring them to market sooner, despite the higher price.

See Green Car Congress for the details.

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Don't they already have diesel hybrids in Europe that no one is willing to import into the US?

Posted by: Jan Steinman on 1 Feb 06

I have been hearing how ethanol is being reevaluated because previous studies that showed it to be uneconomical were flawed. These discussions talk about flex-fuels, part gas and part ethanol because ethanol is not as good as gasoline when it comes to energy per volume.

If what you say is true about "diesel providing more energy/volume" it might make sense to look at a flex-fuel with diesel or bio-diesel (would bio-diesel have similar energy density?) replacing gas to achieve a fuel with as much energy/volume as todays gas but with far less (if any) fossil fuel content and then use the hybrid system for extra mileage savings.

I am assuming that new cellulose technology would eventually make ethanol cheaper than the diesel but with diesel's energy superiority the two would make a better flex-fuel than gas and ethanol but a cheaper fuel than diesel.

Is there a flaw in my thinking (other than the that the ethanol economics are still being debated)? I am also assuming that if ethanol can be mixed with gas without reacting then the same could be true with diesel but i have not taken much chemistry yet so it is just an assumption.

Posted by: Apesnake on 3 Feb 06

Yes, diesel has a higher energy density than gasoline. Biodiesel is about the same as petroleum diesel, although they differ slightly.

Also, most diesel engines are able to burn SVO (straight vegetable oil). SVO means less processing, so itÂ’s less costly, or at least should be. However the rub is that the engine has to be hot before it can start burning SVO, so the engine is usually started with diesel/biodiesel and then switched over to SVO. This means dual fuel tanks and a fuel switching mechanism. Naturally, this works better in warmer climates.

Posted by: Michael K on 6 Feb 06

there is also something called as microbial fuel cells.this technology is also developing but as of now it is not economically feasible.
but it is the future.

Posted by: pulkit on 9 Feb 06



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