Porsche just won the 2015 Le Mans endurance race with a hybrid-electric racecar, but diesel engines are in the company’s past, and in its current SUVs and family cars.
Unique in combining tradition and progress, this 24 hour endurance race combines the regulations of the local club ACO, the FIA and WEC to create rules enabling an exciting contest between various efficiency concepts.
“Four manufacturers were competing with four different concepts – from the type of combustion technology used, to the engine’s configuration in the racecar, to the extent and type of energy recuperation and storage. No other automobile world championship features an equally diverse range of technology”, one report states.
Since the year 2000, diesel was victorious at Le Mans, but this time the Porsche V4 gasoline engine with a more potent hybrid-electric drive gained the upper hand over Audi’s V6 diesel; ”progress is driving ahead”.
Diesel, that variation of internal combustion engine technology, fared well again in third and fourth place, but diesel is still not given its deserved recognition on this continent; North American motorists are still hesitating, while millions of drivers in Europe and Asia have taken to diesel cars, like bees to flowers.
Why should I hesitate to buy a diesel car for my family, when countless numbers of highway trucks, farm tractors, buses, construction machines, office or hospital generators, train locomotives, and ship engines are using diesel engines for more than a century?
For almost a human generation, diesel racecars from VW-Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Peugeot, and a number of other carmakers have been, and still are winning events around the world for years.
For more than eighty years, diesel passenger cars have been produced; Citroën started in 1933, Mercedes-Benz and Hanomag in 1936. The war interrupted that, but since 1949, Mercedes never stopped producing diesel cars. In the late 1970s, Chevrolet, Pontiac, Buick, Oldsmobile, and even Cadillac built diesel-engine models, but General Motors did not persevere with refining the genre.
Rudolf Diesel improved on the already existing internal combustion engine (ICE) by improving its efficiency, when he invented the process in1885. Development and refinement of the process took another 13 years. He built a successful version in 1897, more than doubling the efficiency of the predominant steam engines.
The rest, as they say, and as you already know, is history. Nonetheless, we attempt to fill in a few of the gaps.
This video / slideshow shows one of the restored original huge diesel engines Rudolf Diesel made at the company now named MAN (see article of 2015 04 19), intended to out-perform the cumbersome steam engines; the video following that, shows a much improved smaller version.
Volkswagen started to make diesel cars popular when it started producing diesel cars in the 1970s. When they improved the diesel’s behavior with electronic injection, people started in flocks to buy diesel cars all over Europe. A large number of automakers now offer diesel engines, and 55% of new car registrations are so equipped.
Ask anyone on this continent who drives a Ram 1500 or a Jeep Grand Cherokee with the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6, or the legendary 6.7-liter Cummins inline six-cylinder turbo-diesel ….. They will tell you what you are missing; Whether for work, travel or luxurious touring, diesel power has ‘arrived’.
Bentley is exploring whether or not to use a diesel engine for their first-ever SUV, the 2016 Bentayga; A variety from six to 12 cylinders are available from their VW Group parent.
Even “Rolls-Royce has released official pictures of the first engineering prototype for its upcoming (2017) Cullinan ‘high-sided, all-terrain vehicle’. (SUV) Diesel prototypes are understood to have been built….”, reports autoblog.
Power, efficiency and longevity – you can have all that when you drive a Diesel vehicle, and countless people are making the switch, in order to avoid the complexity of a hybrid. Hybrids combine an engine plus an electric motor in order to cut overall fuel consumption, a necessary transitional step towards electric vehicles (EV).
We just witnessed the progress HEVs are making, and in time, all cars will befit from this; Why not let the “old reliable” diesel engine with electronic fuel control fill the gap for you in the meantime?