Will Diesel Help Our Future?

Interesting, Others | December 14th, 2014 by 17
bmw diesel commercial

I’ve just recently driven BMW’s technological powerhouse, the i3, and had deemed it the future of the automobile, just a week or so ago. Now, …

I’ve just recently driven BMW’s technological powerhouse, the i3, and had deemed it the future of the automobile, just a week or so ago. Now, despite how smitten I was with the increasingly likable i3, I have somewhat turned another cheek. I’m not in anyway discrediting the incredible work of BMW or its efforts to create a future devoid of gasoline but not of fun. What I’ve realized, simply, is that electric power, as of right now, is not the answer. I have no doubt that electric power is the answer for the future, it is infinitely renewable and can be harnessed while doing no damage to our precious earth, but as of this very instant, the electric car is not the answer. So we must find an intermediate solution in the meantime, while our greatest minds try and build an infrastructure to house the electric car. And I believe that intermediary can be diesel fuel.

bmw i3 white green sticker

But Diesels blow black smoke everywhere, don’t they?

Yes, diesel cars are the ones back in the 1970’s that would eject black smoke and soot from the exhaust into the sky and onto closely following cars. However, quite a lot has changed, since then, with the crude oil engines. Modern diesels are just as clean, if not more, than the standard gasoline engine, and are far more efficient. For example; the 2014 Volkswagen Jetta TDI returns a 34 mpg average, while its gasoline counterpart (the 1.8 turbo four-cylinder) returns 29 mpg. The TDI has a whopping five mpg AVERAGE advantage. That’s a significant difference, especially considering that the TDI is cleaner and produces less of those pesky carbon-dioxides that make tree-huggers cry.

bmw diesel commercial 655x285

Yea, okay, but diesels are loud and slow and harsh.

Again, this isn’t 1976 anymore. Sit in the drivers seat of a Mercedes-Benz E250 BluTec diesel and you wouldn’t be able to tell if the engine was on, never mind discern if said engine was diesel or gasoline. Are some diesels still a bit noisy? Yes. Some still have that inherent*clack, clack* noise from the outside, at idle, but most are quite and smooth.

A diesel in my BMW? Aren’t diesels slow and unrefined?

bmw-335d-diesel

To put it simply — no. Do diesel engines have the rapid 0-60 times you’d be used to if you’re an average Mercedes, BMW or Audi driver? No. But what diesels have, is tons and tons of torque and that is what gets you off the line. So despite being down on horsepower, cars with diesels often feel faster around town and at real world speeds, thanks to tremendous amounts of torque which helps surge you off the line. And as far as refinement, those aforementioned German brands have been making fine diesel engines for ages now, and they run just as smooth as the big, luxurious gas engines you’re used to.

READ ALSO: BMW Diesels Are Coming and Why Are Diesels More Efficient

Isn’t diesel fuel more expensive?

diesel012509

Yes, it’s a bit more expensive, even than premium, 91 octane, gasoline. However, it’s the trade off you make for far better fuel economy, as well as a more reliable longer lasting engine. Diesels have shown far better reliability over extended mileage than gasoline engines, so the extra cost of fuel is far outweighed by the benefits of efficiency and reliability.

Won’t diesel engines piss off environmentalists?

Most of the time, yes. Which, in my opinion, is actually a point of argument for diesel. Most environmentalist just want to yabber on about how they like to wear shirts made out of recycled tampons and water bottles and don’t actually learn about real environmental dangers. If someone argues that diesel is worse for the environment, they simply are uneducated as the additives used in modern diesels make them cleaner than gas engines, as stated before. Also, fun fact: The beloved Toyota Prius actually cause more harm to the environment during the process of mining and shipping the nickel in its batteries, than a big diesel Benz from the 70’s will in its entire lifetime.

So, even though electric power must be the future, that future is too far off. The BMW i3 and the Tesla Model S may be modern marvels, but the infrastructure just isn’t there for them yet. So in the meantime, buy a diesel. And throw out that stupid, recycled shirt.

[Source: TheEngineBay]

17 responses to “Will Diesel Help Our Future?”

  1. CDspeed says:

    Oh yes there are just not enough places to charge, every building has electricity, but that isn’t enough [sarcasm]

    • It isn’t necessarily the amount of charging points that is a problem, even though they are far less common than gas stations, it’s the charge time. It takes 3.5 hours for the i3 to charge on a 240v connection, however most buildings in which allow EV’s to charge are only 120v, which takes about 12 hours for the i3. So while charging points are becoming more available, they’re convenience isn’t anywhere near the level of a gasoline or diesel.

      • CDspeed says:

        No, most public sites are 240V, you’d only charge from a 120v outlet in an emergency. And the i3 only takes 3.5 hours if you’re charging it from dead, to full. My i3 is usually done in 45 minutes to maybe 1 hour, and 20 minutes.

      • CDspeed says:

        If it was the charge time then why say “The BMW i3 and the Tesla Model S may be modern marvels, but the infrastructure just isn’t there for them yet.”?

        • They are modern marvels, I’m a huge fan of the i3 and during my few days with it, thoroughly enjoyed it. However, the infrastructure for fast charging isn’t there yet. Even it every charging station charged all EV’s in 3.5 hours, compared to a gasoline cars 5 minute refuels, that’s far too long to be practical for anything other than major cities. I drove it 100 miles each day I had it, I fully understand its limitations, despite liking it very much. But I’m glad you have one, it’s good to see people embracing its quirky, weird greatness.

          • CDspeed says:

            Batteries will get to the point where they can charge just as fast as you can fill up on diesel. Like most technologies the first version is expensive, and isn’t quite as capable. An example I like to use is flat panel TVs, I still remember seeing the first one in an electronics store. It was a 46 inch screen, 4 inches thick, it didn’t come with speakers, and it wasn’t HD, all for just under $24,000 USD. Had flat panels stayed like that they would have never gone anywhere. Batteries will take a little bit longer, but we have the time, we’ll probably use petrol and diesel until it dries up. Modern electric cars are just starting out, and they work great, but publishing something that says “don’t look at them buy a diesel” doesn’t make sense. Consumers will pick what they want if they want an electric car that’s fine, if diesel or a hybrid works better for them fine. An i3 has plenty of daily range for average drivers, and a Model S has more then enough, and every other aspect will catch up in future generations, but we can’t expect something new to be perfect from day 1.

    • Horatiu B. says:

      In major cities. But public infrastructure is not there yet. In Europe is the same

      • CDspeed says:

        The furthest I’ve driven on a single charge is 77 miles, and when I parked it in my garage it said I still had 16 miles left. Most of the time you don’t really need it, but there are enough when you do. And the major cities are doing pretty well check Plugshare.

    • Horatiu B. says:

      In major cities. But public infrastructure is not there yet. In Europe is the same

  2. kj marway says:

    Completely disagree. Diesel is noisy and lacks the gorgeously smooth power delivery of a petrol (gas) engine.

    I’ve first hand experience having driven a diesel 1er and and Z4 (straight six) for the last two years.

    Diesel is anathema to me, and always will remain as such. Petrol is miles ahead of its Heavy oil counterpart.

    • dieselspeed says:

      you gotta be kidding… smooth power delivery? my 335d has more torque than a ferrari 458 speciale. i have had it for three years and i can tell you it is very smooth and will get from naught to 60 in less than six seconds.
      diesel clatter – only when the engine is cold and the radio is off.

      • kj marway says:

        No, I’m not kidding.

        A huge part of the driving experience is the audible element.

        Your 335d may have buckets of torque and get you from 0-60 in less than six seconds – but I assure you the 335i will sound better.

        Diesel is for the high mileage driver, the road warrior who clocks up 1000+ miles weekly – BMW built part of it’s reputation on the legendary straight six, no diesel powerplant can match up to that.

    • dieselspeed says:

      you gotta be kidding… smooth power delivery? my 335d has more torque than a ferrari 458 speciale. i have had it for three years and i can tell you it is very smooth and will get from naught to 60 in less than six seconds.
      diesel clatter – only when the engine is cold and the radio is off.

  3. dieselspeed says:

    i agree electrics will not replace conventional internal combustion engines in our lifetime. There is just not enough lithium/nickel, you name the metal for everyone to afford one. unless they come up with some advanced, easy to make and renewable battery i suspect electrics will be the only for well heeled coastal hippies.
    more than 50% of small family cars in europe are diesels – the US is just behind the curve on this. diesel gets 30-50% better fuel economy than the same volume gasoline engine and it lasts longer. most people can even beat epa estimates with diesels if they drive carefully.
    ask any TDI golf or jetta driver and they will tell you they get 46-50 mpg highway – that is prius territory. i routinely get 38-40 mpg highway in my 335d even driving 75 mph. this for a car that will get from 0 to 60 in under 6 sec.
    one more thing – when oil runs out you will still see jettas and 80s mercs chugging along on peanut oil. the only reason diesel is not so widely used in the US is that our refineries are built to make more gasoline than diesel so (my assumption is that) the govt does not want to encourage people to buy diesels since that would drive fuel prices (and the price of your groceries) up.
    i also think that if you are an eco-freak and you only use your car around town then do us all a favor and use the bus – it is friendlier to the polar bear than your i3.

  4. dieselspeed says:

    i agree electrics will not replace conventional internal combustion engines in our lifetime. There is just not enough lithium/nickel, you name the metal for everyone to afford one. unless they come up with some advanced, easy to make and renewable battery i suspect electrics will be the only for well heeled coastal hippies.
    more than 50% of small family cars in europe are diesels – the US is just behind the curve on this. diesel gets 30-50% better fuel economy than the same volume gasoline engine and it lasts longer. most people can even beat epa estimates with diesels if they drive carefully.
    ask any TDI golf or jetta driver and they will tell you they get 46-50 mpg highway – that is prius territory. i routinely get 38-40 mpg highway in my 335d even driving 75 mph. this for a car that will get from 0 to 60 in under 6 sec.
    one more thing – when oil runs out you will still see jettas and 80s mercs chugging along on peanut oil. the only reason diesel is not so widely used in the US is that our refineries are built to make more gasoline than diesel so (my assumption is that) the govt does not want to encourage people to buy diesels since that would drive fuel prices (and the price of your groceries) up.
    i also think that if you are an eco-freak and you only use your car around town then do us all a favor and use the bus – it is friendlier to the polar bear than your i3.

  5. MikaBerner says:

    BMW’s 328D wagon and select sedans come in AWD. I have the wagon and no I don’t put 1000K miles a week on it, but closer to 500 miles a week, most of my driving one day a week as I work and reside in 2 places. I have been AVERAGING 45 and closer to 48 mpg. Right now I have been paying $2.56 per gallon, this station is selling real diesel (#2), not biodiesel which would void my warranty, and is around $.10 LESS per gallon than regular. The only difference in engine soundI notice compared to traditional gas is when the car is idling, which if I am stopped, shuts off anyway in its start stop mode.

    Frankly I am amazed BMW have not had these screaming out the door. What other AWD gets this type of mileage?

  6. […] interesting comments on the BMWBlog from Nico DeMattia about diesel engines and our […]

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