Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Diesel Hybrid?

This has been bothering me for quite a while. Where are all the Diesel Hybrid vehicles?

I know that there are applications of this technology in practice. Many of the buses operated by King County Metro are Diesel Electric vehicles. Train Locomotives use this technology to move rail cars across the country. Where is the Hybrid version of this technology in our Prius and Insight passenger cars?

I know the technologies are not exactly the same, the trains/buses use a different type of hybrid (series) then the Passenger cars I mentioned. However, there is nothing stopping auto manufactures from producing this type of hybrid for passenger cars (See the Chevy Volt as an example).

You may say, "What is the big deal, you are just trading one fuel type for another fuel type?" which is true, but when you consider why many people concerned with carbon emissions are choosing Diesel (Biodiesel technology, lower emissions, etc) and see how that would intersect with the same set of goals in a Hybrid vehicle (lower emissions, better fuel economy, etc) it seems like a complete no brainier. Lets make a hybrid diesel system that can take advantage of the environmental positives of both systems, the technology exists NOW!

I have been thinking about this specific issue for several years now, and it has been compounded by the fact that I need to start thinking about my next vehicle in a year or so. I would really like to take advantage of these two technologies together, but there are no plans as far as I know to produce such a vehicle.

Well someone has given the automakers a big middle finger and did just that, created a diesel hybrid that after preliminary testing seems like it could be possible of near 100 MPG efficiency. The article came up on Slashdot (http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/09/08/18/1534231/Worlds-Only-Diesel-Electric-Honda-Insight) this morning and I just had to write about it.

I've not read the site detailing the process because it has been brought down by the traffic that has been pushed onto it, but here is the link: http://www.redlightracing.org/ apparently the process is documented for those who want to attempt something like this on their own.

For my own auto purchase I will have to be satisfied with choosing one or the other. At this point it is looking like a VW, because it offers what I am looking for in a wagon (never thought I would WANT a wagon, but here I am). Now to start thinking about how to get one LOL.