“Fake news is at an all time high.” – Donald Trump
In a surprising announcement since the #dieselgate debacle that tore up Volkswagen’s image and finances just over two years ago, the German giant has disclosed plans to reintroduce their diesel engine to North America albeit in a very different capacity.
If you recall, the TDI engines had a cheat device installed in their system that could detect when the vehicle was being e-tested. In this situation, the device would cut down on emissions in order to pass but once back on the road, the engines would produce up to 40 times more greenhouse gases. It is safe to say that VW’s learned a valuable if not highly expensive lesson.
So, what about TDI today? The gang from Wolfsburg announced in the summer of 2016 and again earlier this fall that they have plans to introduce 80 new electric models by 2025 as part of their aggressive plans to electrify everything by 2030. One of the strategies involves electric vehicles with onboard range-extenders, much like the Chevrolet Volt and the BMW i3 with REX.
Despite diesel’s bad wrap after dieselgate, the fact that fuel-burning engines are extremely proficient remains. The right diesel technology, the clean kind, can and should prove to be a highly efficient and cost-effective way to maximize distance travelled. And again, with the right tuning and attached technologies, can be very clean.
There are no specific details as of yet as to engine sizes, applications or even costs. If we return to the Volt for a moment, it provides 106 MPGe with its 1.5-litre 4-cylinder engine and 18.4 kWh battery pack (good enough for an 85km EV range). If we extrapolate the fact that diesel engines can be 20 to 25% more efficient, the MPGe number will certainly rise.
Before fully undertaking this new TDI adventure, let’s hope that VW’s done their homework to find out if Canada and the US are ready for the TDI to rise from the dead.