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Volkswagen customers in Germany ordering more diesel vehicles; share of 43% in 2018, vs. 39% in 2017

Customers of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand in Germany are once again placing more orders for diesel vehicles. In 2018, the share of incoming orders for vehicles equipped with the latest diesel technology as a proportion of the overall vehicle portfolio was 43% compared to 39% in 2017.

Demand for diesel cars was particularly strong among private customers, where the share almost doubled from 15% in 2017 to 27% last year.

In Germany, the diesel debate is emotionally charged—and frequently strays from the facts. Given its high efficiency and its performance and in light of climate change, the diesel engine will remain an important technology for years to come, especially for those who travel long distances.

—Volkswagen Brand Board Member for Sales, Jürgen Stackmann

Diesel engines emit up to 15% less CO2 than comparable gasoline engines; the CO2 benefits are greater for larger vehicles. The very latest generation of diesel engines from the Volkswagen Group (EA288 evo, earlier post) achieves even lower emission levels and reduces CO2 emissions by up to 10 g/km (NEDC) in a direct comparison to the previous generation.

The EA288 evo units not only comply with the current limits of the EU6d-temp exhaust emission standard, but are also already prepared for the future EU6d standard (which applies to new models from September 2019).



It was about time… for the return of the dinosaur. Looking at the latest data from on-board emission measurements, you can find that NOx from diesel cars is less than 90%, or in some cases even less than 95% compared to the Euro 6d-TEMP RDE limit. This not only shows the ability to fulfill proposed (still unofficial) Euro 7 limit (and already meet Euro 6d-FINAL on the way) but also the capability to go a significant step beyond Euro 7. Moreover, the diesel engine also has additional advantages (over gasoline engines) regarding particulate emissions, hazardous non-regulated emission compounds, fuel consumption, CO2 and greenhouse gases. And finally, it can use a hybrid and/or plug-in drivetrain - just as a gasoline engine.


Well, in the end it comes down to cost. You can have a diesel engine farting roses, but what does it mean for the purchase price and running costs?

And to level diesel and petrol you have to account for 13% higher CO2 emissions when burning same volume of diesel fuel (1l petrol burns to 2.33 kg CO2 and 1 l diesel burns to 2.64). It's not all that black and white, latest gasoline engines with 41% efficiency coupled to a hybrid system are already cost competitive to a diesel car with DCT, I don't believe you can make a cost efficient diesel plug-in hybrid, not to mention packaging.

Diesel has it's market share and will have it for a long time, but it's only sensible for bigger sized vehicles or cars with almost all highway driving and in my opinion that is no way the 43% of total car market.


Fuel volume? Well, you seem to forget that one liter of diesel fuel contains more energy than one liter of gasoline. Per kg fuel and per energy content, CO2 is quite equal for both fuels. In fact, H/C ratio is quite similar, so already there you have the hint. The efficiency advantage gives tailpipe CO2 emissions about 20% lower for diesel cars than for gasoline cars in an apples-to-apples comparison.

Well, not all gasoline engines have 41% efficiency but far lower numbers tend to be the norm. Passenger car diesel engines can reach 44% efficiency and future HD diesel engines target 55%, where some of these improvements will also be applicable to smaller diesel engines. This is on the condition that future development of diesel engines is allowed to continue. In essence, you aim at a moving target. In addition, you should note that the difference in efficiency is greater at low load than a full load, which pays off in real driving. DCTs can be used with both gasoline and diesel engines and the same with hybrid systems, so I do not really understand that point. By the end of the day, a diesel hybrid will be more efficient than a gasoline hybrid. Yes, the cost is higher, but cost will be higher for any technology that improves efficiency. Toyota Prius is probably the most cost-effective hybrid we can buy in Europe. A similar sized diesel car (I have one) with similar CO2 emissions cost less. That is cost-effective according to my definition. Add a hybrid drive system and it will become more expensive but also much efficient and reduce CO2 even further. Plug-ins and electric cars are even more expensive, so where is the logic? Would an incremental cost somewhere in-between the mentioned options be impossible? Before the VW dieselgate, the share of diesel cars in EU was higher than today but economics has not changed much. Where all customers idiots a couple of years ago?

Packaging? Why would that be a problem? A 2-liter diesel engine is not bigger than a 2-liter gasoline engine. It might be a few kgs heavier, but you could reduce tank volume somewhat to still get the same weight and (non-electric) range, if that is what you aim for. For both gasoline and diesel engines, there are synergies with hybridization that actually could enable downsizing of the engines and this has not been used to full extent so far. Note that Toyota uses naturally aspirated engines around 1.8 to 2.0 liter in their hybrids. A 1-liter 3-cylinder turbocharged millerized engine would do the same job. Or a 1.2-liter 3-cylinder diesel engine. If we leave full hybrids and plug-ins for the moment; the mild hybrid is, in my view, the sweet spot, since it has almost the same gain in fuel economy as a full hybrid but lower incremental cost. Yet, there will be no economic incentives for such technology. It will have to succeed on its own merits.

Finally, consider that the diesel engine is the most efficient heat engine ever invented. Try to invent something more efficient if you do not believe that. With this in mind; would it be wise - and in our best interest - to stop the development of the diesel engine? Is it wise to try to, with all means available, discourage customers from buying diesel cars?


1. I didn't say that diesel engine should stop selling or stop developing. I'm just sceptical that it's a good solution for all cars and to have such a big market share (>40%). This is nothing but anomaly, partly due to lower excess taxes on diesel fuel in Europe, where in reality current market situation in Europe is that core diesel prices are more than 20% higher than petrol.
2. I pointed out volume of fuel, because people tend to buy fuel in liters or gallons and then they compare apples to oranges when they calculate l/100 km or MPG. CO2 emissions are fixed with the fuel consumption and again 1 l of diesel burns to 2.64 kg and 1 l of petrol burns to 2.33 kg. In this regard Prius is still the king of efficiency (4,5l/100 km real world), looking at real world numbers not even plug-in diesel hybrids come close (Volvo V60, MB C 300h, MB E 300h). Hell, those are even no match to Camry hybrid when it comes to total energy usage (electricity + diesel).
3. in theory and in the lab many things are possible, even F1 petrol engine is supposed to be more than 50% efficient, but apparently none of the production engines are. The same with diesel, marine diesel engines may be over 50% efficient but they are huge.

In the end it comes down to user experience (UX), preferences and cost, people tend to like turbo diesel torque, low diesel fuel price and other (to me unknown) characteristics. But on the other hand strong electrification can also offer a huge advantage to UX. One thing modern diesel engines lack, even those mild 48V hybrid ones is throttle response.


Wow! I didn't know that there were that many gluttons on the road seeking punishment.

consider that the diesel engine is the most efficient heat engine ever invented. Try to invent something more efficient if you do not believe that.
CCGTs are up to 62% efficiency (LHV).
Sheldon Harrison

CCGTs are as you are well aware are two separate heat engines using different heat cycles being Brayton and a Rankine bottoming cycle. Hence your comparison is not accurate. The diesel engine is in fact the most efficient single cycle heat engine operating in practice, being better than 50% for the largest examples. Gas Turbines are not at that level. And even better, when using a similar Rankine bottoming cycle, they match or beat CCGTs in overall thermal efficiency.


I think the key to diesel is that is is better at part load then gasoline and cars spend most of their time at part load.
I would like to see more mild hybrid diesels so that you do not have lines of stationary traffic with their diesel engines running. (As you do where I live [Dublin] ).
Again, the problem is the additional cost of hybridising an already expensive diesel engine.
IMO, if they can (or have) got the NOx cleaned up, there is still a place for diesel - in the short and medium term at least.


The big problem with actual engine configuration is that the engine itself compress too much and do not expand enouph so to compensate they add fuel and burn it just before the power stroke with diesel or gasoline. I invented recently the abr c.c.p engine that produce power with it's own cycle. c.c.p mean central compression piston. You reduce the compression pressure and boost the expantion power just by using the c.c.p and it produce power without any fuel. It also work in 2 strokes configuration. I posted some diagrams in my facebook page, andre brien.

CCGTs are as you are well aware are two separate heat engines using different heat cycles being Brayton and a Rankine bottoming cycle. Hence your comparison is not accurate.
A distinction without a difference.

Using a gas turbine you can go at least 3 layers deep:  high-temperature fuel cell, gas turbine, Rankine cycle.  Diesels can't use FC topping cycles, and their near-constant volume combustion can't make up for that disadvantage.  Many high-temp FC plants are already using small gas turbines as their compressor systems (zero or negative parasitic load) so this is in the pipeline.


Law of diminishing returns I argue, all these resources spent on increasing diesel efficiency. The technology is here, what needs to change is our fuel source. Remove petroleum from the picture suddenly diesels have a bright future. Renewable diesels, I believe, should be actively pushed by the VW group as the future. Refer to the California Carbon intensity distribution chart in the link below. Seriously, it's time to ditch petroleum based gas and diesel.

my 2 cents...

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