Daimler Investing $2.9 Billion in Next-Generation Diesels
Smaller Cars Getting SCR Systems As Part of Euro 6 Compliance
German car and heavy truck giant Daimler is reportedly investing $2.9 billion in the development of next-generation diesel engines, according to a Reuters report. That is a significant sum for a technology that many consider a dying breed in the age of rapid electrification of the transportation sector. Traditionally, diesel engines have held a privileged position in Europe, where the engines’ lower CO2 emissions relative to gasoline engines prompted policies subsidizing diesel fuel, making it cheaper than gasoline in most European markets. Lately, the Volkswagen emissions scandal, which focused on excessive NOx emissions, have put the regulatory microscope on diesels once again, with many European governments proposing massive and radical policy shifts in favor of full electrics and plug-in hybrids.
Mercedes-Benz just debuted its next-generation OM 654 2.0L I-4 diesel, a smaller-displacement, more power-dense engine designed to meet future emissions and fuel economy standards. Although the VW fiasco has increased scrutiny on particulate and NOx emissions, European regulators specifically continue to put a great deal of focus on CO2 emissions, which are a measure of fuel consumption. The U.S. also measures consumption through Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, which will be 54.5 mpg by 2025. Because of the difference in methodology and formulas, that comes out to approximately 40 mpg by current EPA standards. Prospects for passenger-car diesels in the U.S. market are considered to be dim following the VW scandal. However, diesels remain popular in pickups and SUVs. Class 8 trucks are overwhelmingly diesel-powered, and diesel engines are expected to remain predominant in the heavy-freight segment for the foreseeable future.