BMW diesels vs hybrids: Will diesels be phased out?

BMW i, Interesting | December 5th, 2015 by 7
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At the moment, buying a diesel car over a gasoline (or petrol, if you live on the eastern side of the Atlantic) powered car represents …

At the moment, buying a diesel car over a gasoline (or petrol, if you live on the eastern side of the Atlantic) powered car represents quite a large gain in both economy and efficiency. Currently, diesel-powered cars get better mpg’s, have more torque and even emit fewer of those pesky carbon dioxides we read such bad things about. But that might not always be the case and there’s a good possibility that diesels will soon go by the wayside, even before the gasoline engine does.

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BMW’s B47 diesel engine

Hybrids are the future, we know this. We’ve known this for some time now. And after hybrids will come full EVs and dinosaur juice will no longer be powering any of our vehicles. As this happens, and the internal combustion engine is slowly phases out, automakers will have to work very hard to keep the emissions up to date in gasoline and diesel cars. As hybrids and EVs push the efficiency-bar higher and higher, government regulations all over the world will continue to push for more efficient engines to keep up with the hybrids and EVs. This represents a big problem for diesel engines, because it requires much more effort to keep a diesel car clean than it does a gasoline one.

Volkswagen isn’t helping the cause, with its latest diesel scandal. The majority of Americans, as well as many Europeans, are becoming increasingly distrusting of Volkswagen and diesel engines in general. Obviously, this is knee-jerk reaction and claiming diesels to be bad for the environment because Volkswagen lied is simply misguided. Diesel engines are currently the cleaner engines, but time will change that.

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BMW X5 xDrive40e hybrid powertrain

While it is true that, at the moment, diesels are cleaners than gasoline engines, it takes quite a lot of tinkering to get that done. Diesel engines have urea injections and AdBlue tanks to keep the emissions clean and this costs money. A lot of money. These require more parts and more tanks which not only cost money in themselves but make cars and engines more complicated and heavy. And it’s going to cost more to innovate enough to get diesel engines up to even stiffer emissions requirements when they do increase. And it will reach a point where it’s no longer worth the cost for automakers to continue making diesel engines.

This won’t come for some time, however. According to BMW CEO, Harald Krueger, the European Union’s consumption and emissions targets for 2020 can currently only be achieved with diesel engines. However, he did go on to say “the point will come in the future when it will simply be uneconomic to adapt the diesel drive ever further to the demands of increasingly ambitious legislation.”

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Plug-In Hybrid BMW i8

This is where hybrids come in, as it will allow automakers to still use the internal combustion engine, but meet the stricter-growing emissions regulations. It’s an unfortunate truth for us auto enthusiasts, but a truth indeed. The bright side of this is that, as we’re seeing quite a bit lately, hybrids can still be very fun. The BMW i8, McLaren P1, Porsche 918 Spyder and Ferrari LaFerrari prove that. But diesels will sadly be missed when they finally do go.

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