The future isn’t dark for diesel engines

 

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not all doom and gloom for those with diesel cars. While the fuel may have experienced a number of blows over the years, the future is looking bright - particularly with efficient newer models and the ability to increase torque with tuning boxes.

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The diesel lowdown

February 2018 may show that new diesel car registrations have dropped to 35% of the market share, but there is still life in the black pump yet. Diesel cars have long been the subject of negative publicity due to their toxic emissions. In fact, some governments have attempted to ban the vehicles from specific areas altogether. However, while diesel fuel does contain slightly more carbon than that of petrol, the overall CO₂ emissions of a diesel engine are lower than petrol.

There have been arguments against the toxic emissions of diesel engines, with petrol cars emitting 30% less than a diesel car. This fuel has been tapped as one of the greater risks to the population when it comes to toxic emissions. But for all the worry, petrol and diesel vehicles are governed by a similar set of emission standards. Cars produced more than 20 years ago, however, conform to the previous standards, thus the argument. But, as newer models released have a similar emission level of petrol, it could spell a new wave for the fuel.

What makes diesel engines competitive

Diesel engines are considered competitive and, therefore, hugely viable for the future as they offer increased torque. They will continue to account for a global monopoly for heavy vehicles for this reason alone. As they increase torque, the diesel engine is a lot more durable and efficient than their petrol brother. For example, towing vehicles are, generally, diesel as they offer more pulling power.

As mentioned above, the gap between petrol and diesel when it came to fuel economy was vast, and has lessened now with the tax on diesel. However, it is still estimated to come out a little lower than petrol, with many installing diesel tuning boxes also stating they saved money when it came to fuel.

However, the electric and hybrid market is the greatest challenge for the automotive industry, with the UK government announcing they will ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in 2040. However, the infrastructure for widespread electric vehicles is lacking in some parts of the world, possibly taking years to catch up. Therefore, advanced diesel models can step up to the plate.

Newer diesel models

The diesel engine industry has a reputation for technological innovation. Since 1990, the advances are exceptional, with performance improving opportunities paving the way. Likewise, a number of manufacturers are introducing diesel vehicles that have been well received by their peers.

For instance, Ford has noted the growing popularity for diesel - the workman’s best friend for heavy-duty demands, such as towing, hauling and off-roading - and has recently introduced the all-new Power Stroke diesel V6 engine for the F-150. Offering a smooth driving experience, this is the best-in-class for fuel economy. As such, many manufacturers are planning to expand their diesel portfolio.

Innovation

As it’s clear that diesel will continue to play an important role in meeting mobility needs, manufacturers are developing technology to support the emission standards. One such example is Continental, developing a 2.0 litre VW Golf Mk7 GTD, emitting 60% less NOx than a standard car today. In addition, fuel consumption improved and CO₂ was also reduced, suggesting all is not lost for diesel engines. Similarly, the new four-cylinder diesel unit OM 654 is part of a new groundbreaking wave of engines for Mercedes Benz, providing exemplary emissions and efficiency. Essentially, it’s future proof and will play a key role in helping diesel achieve global targets.

Similarly, the DIY car modifications, such as diesel tuning boxes, have helped boost popularity. Diesel chip tuning can increase torque and power, and even improve consumption. A car tuning box is fitted to the car’s wiring loom, intercepting the signal between the ECU and fuel injection system. The tuner car parts, effectively, trick the ECU into injecting more fuel, thus increasing torque and overall performance.

Diesel engine modification is temporary with the addition of a car tuning box. Therefore, it doesn’t void the warranty for those with lease cars. Once you do choose to change cars, the vehicle will return back to standard once the tuner car parts are removed. You can remove the tuning box relatively easy, and the manufacturer or dealer will not be aware.

You can read more on the benefits of a car tuning box - for both petrol and diesel - here.

The future for diesel

For those travelling long distances and racking up miles, a diesel engine may be the best solution - especially when it comes to the diesel particulate filter (DPF). To ensure that it doesn’t become clogged, it’s advised you run the engine at high speed on a motorway. Those who avoid motorways are better suited to petrol engines.

While there is negative press relating to diesel, the advances alone are reason to believe we’ll see these engines for many years to come.