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Nissan Planning Diesels for US Market

25 November 2005

Bloomberg. Nissan is working on plans to introduce diesel-powered pickups and SUVs into the US market, according to CEO Carlos Ghosn.

In remarks made at a press conference in Japan, Ghosn said the company would use diesels as part of the “fight to limit CO2”. Ghosn is also looking to the introduction of the more fuel-efficient diesel platforms to help mitigate the impact of high fuel prices on larger vehicle sales.

Ghosn also reiterated his caution about hybrids, even while reaffirming that Nissan will launch the hybrid Altima next year and continue to put resources into the development of the technology.

Hybrid is a serious technology and it may be a very competitive technology. But until a consumer decides what he wants, we are cautious.

There is such a buzz about hybrids that no CEO of a car manufacturer dare say his real opinion...I don’t think it is a solution to every problem the industry has.

Until it is definitively established which technology is the final answer to the environmental question, we need to systematically pursue all solutions: diesel, ethanol, hydrogen, electric and hybrid.

—Carlos Ghosn

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November 25, 2005 in Diesel, Vehicle Manufacturers | Permalink | Comments (16) | TrackBack (0)

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You can screw around and waste all your resources on all sorts of things that can be used to power a motorvehicle, or you can find someone with a little common sense and concentrate your resources on something that works.

Right now that is a Turbocharged BioDiesel Hybrid with all wheel drive.

Nissan, of course, would play down the hybrid alternative since there over 500,000 vehicles behind Toyota.

One needs to carefully evaluate diesel as it uses considerably more oil to produce than gasoline. That is, the touted mpg advantages over gasoline are overstated. One needs to adjust diesel mpg by 20% to compare it to gasoline mpg.

Also, diesel is more carbon intensive per gallon than gasoline.

I'm not saying we shouldn't use diesel; I'm just saying we need to compare the different alternatives in a realistic way.

As far as all wheel drive, why would that be part of an attempt to increase mpg? Or, is that just a nice to have feature for handling? Typically, there is an mpg penalty for all wheel drive. Or, Lucas, did you have in mind some new technology that cancels out this disadvantage?

Here is the reference regarding the adjustment for diesel.

http://grist.org/advice/ask/2005/11/02/diesel/index.html

Tom take a look at Gevo's post at:

http://www.mitsubishi-forums.com/index.php?showtopic=7932&st=0&p=36445

I guess you haven't seen the powertrain I have be promoting for several years? This is part of it.

Oh you do know that because of bio fuels they are chopping down the rainforests to plant oil crops... yaaa progress...?

They were chopping down the rainforest long before oil crops were thought of. They found out that nothing would grow on the open land. The Millionaire that was going to raise cattle on it went bankrupt.

Most of it today is being used to make charcoal for cooking.

With regard to the "grist.org" reference posted above, it is clear that this site uses UCS data to support their point. UCS has such a anti-diesel bias that their opinion on them is virtually worthless, full of half-truths and one-sided arguments.

I've read the UCS publication, "The Diesel Dilemma", and their justification for claiming that diesel uses "more oil" is that gasoline has more additives in it, e.g., MTBE. Guess I don't see what difference it makes, it still burns organic material which produces CO2 emissions. Besides, does anyone know for sure that MTBE isn't produced from petroleum? Plus, as has been already pointed out, biodiesel can be blended with petroleum diesel. Gasoline uses more energy in its production which isn't taken into account in the mpg ratings of vehicles. So I disagree with the "20% adjustment" for diesel, or at least with that great of an "adjustment".

Bottom line is that diesel engines typically produce 25% less CO2 emissions than equivalent gasoline engines.

The refinery throughput efficiency for gasoline is about 83%, for diesel it's about 88% (link).

Biodiesel isn't going to cut it.  We only produce about 3 billion gallons of cooking grease a year, and growing more oilseeds runs into the same problem as any other fuel from seeds (meaning grains).

Once HCCI (homogeneous charge compression ignition) gas engines are on the market diesels main advantage will be gone in passenger cars. Still diesels will have higher mpg but it will be about the same as the additional crude that is used in each gallon. There wont be much reason for them at that time except biodiesel. Of course they will be in big trucks for a long time.

Once again:  diesel fuel does NOT use more crude per gallon.  It's just made of the denser fractions.  Cracking denser stuff to make lighter chains for gasoline is inefficient and actually causes more losses than making diesel.

Not only does diesel fuel NOT use more crude than gasoline, it also requires less energy to refine. I don't know where you come up with this stuff.

"concentrate your resources on something that works.

Right now that is a Turbocharged BioDiesel Hybrid with all wheel drive."

That is probably the worst drive train concept you could possibly imagine. The diesel engine emissions systems are not suited to a constant start stop cycle of a real hybrid system. Did you think about how much weight this would add to the car? Lets see: diesel engine, turbo with intercooler, generator, batteries, 4 electric motors. Wow, that sounds really light and effient. The Mitsubishi example you are thinking about isn't even on the drawing board for production. Placing the electric motors in the wheels is just plain dumb in a production car. If you expose the motor to that much vibration it'll be fried in a few hundred miles. And how exactly is carrying around 4 electric motors more efficient than just using one? Stick to concepts that work. All these technologies put together would make a car rridiculously expensive and heavy. Diesels are efficient at constant speed high load environment. Gasoline hybrid is efficient at acceleration and energy recovery in deceleration. Don't confuse the two.

Well Justin I just can't let that pass. I really wonder where you got all that info.

Do you know what an external rotor electric motor is?

Take a look at: gevo's post at:

http://www.mitsubishi-forums.com/index.php?showtopic=7932&st=0&p=36445

As previously mentioned, I've already seen that car as well as the the Colt version from last year. The EVO version was posted on here about 2 months ago. Whatevert he marketing people at Mitsu like use, its still just an in wheel electic motor. Its been used in some electric bikes for years. There is no point in using 4 motors to accomplish the job of one. There is no electric motor in the world designed to take the shocks and vibrations normally found in the suspension of a car.
Mitsubishi is so cash strapped right now they are on the verge of pulling out of the US market. I doubt they have the money to resolve the technical problems and bring anything like this to market.

There is an alternative to the electric-hybrid diesel and that is air-hybrid diesel.
Using an engine with Z-combustion technology
http://www.aumet.fi/
can meet SULEV emissions with a simple 3-way cat.
modifications to convert to Electro-hydraulic valvetrain solves some of their problems (i.e intake valve power consumption) and allows the use of Air-hybrid technology.
http://www.newsroom.ucla.edu/page.asp?id=4420
which has an estimated savings of 12% highway and 64% city. And adds an estimated 35 kg to the weight of the vehicle.
Now I know this is still on the drawing board but with some backing this could be a real good answer.

"The diesel engine emissions systems are not suited to a constant start stop cycle of a real hybrid system. "
THis is not my understanding. How do you explain the GM-Allison Hybrid busses? Apparently the emissions are significantly lower.

Maybe in-wheel electric motors pose some issues, but don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

"Maybe in-wheel electric motors pose some issues..."

Yeah, like locking a wheel and sending the car into a skid when a motor locks up. That, and the increased unsprung weight. Add to that the need for a supplier to produce a motor/wheel/suspension assembly, not just separate parts - and the suspension will have to be beefy (read: heavy). That's why Toyota walked away from hub motors.

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