The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Hybrids vs. Diesel

November 10, 2003

It appears that a technological schism is shaping up, pitting Japanese hybrid and European diesel forces against each other, according to DeHavilland News on November 5. European automakers continue to advocate modern diesel engines, warning that Japan's preference for advanced 'hybrid' technology "is the product of political machinations." With Euorpean sales composed of more than 40 percent diesel, the majority of firms operating in Europe have approached the drive toward emissions reduction using diesel technology, and are wary of the rival technology being developed in Japan. Georges Douin, Renault executive vice president of strategic product planning, told Automotive News that "we do not need hybrids," citing the firm's "Clio" diesel as the most fuel-efficient car on the market. Wilfried Bockelmann, VW brand board member responsible for development, says that his company "will only develop them when we are forced [to do so]. And if so, the ideal hybrid system will be combined with a diesel engine." DaimlerChrysler says it believes that diesel will also ultimately fuel the emissions cuts in the crucial US market, which seems to defy historical trends. Japanese automakers say that hybrid technology can deliver the total package necessary — diesel technology can lower CO2 emission levels, but can't meet future nitrogen oxide emission rules deemed necessary in the U.S. — and are targeting future California near-zero emission rules in Japan's primary export market. Perhaps the future will reveal a merger of the two technologies, with some form of diesel hybrid reduction strategy taking hold on a global basis, says DeHaviland News.
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