Basing its bullishness for diesel proliferation on a study done by Carnegie Mellon University, German company Bosch says to get ready for 10 percent of all American vehicles to be diesel powered within the next three years.
Said study, which was undertaken in 2009, compiled information based on public understanding of diesel passenger vehicles and factors affecting diesel purchase by consumers.
Additionally, more recent information from CNW Research has apparently bolstered the argument, citing greater awareness of clean diesel technology and lower cost premiums for diesel against gasoline than in the past.
It’s long been recognized that diesel cars can be up to 30-percent more fuel efficient than their gasoline counterparts and can in cases deliver a driving range almost double – or as much as 700 miles versus a typical 350-400 mile radius for gasoline cars.
As a result, provided the vehicle is maintained, diesels can deliver significant cost savings for their drivers over the course of ownership, something that would clearly resonate with most people.
That said, Bosch’s assertion that the U.S. diesel market will soar to 10 percent in under three years seems more than a little on the optimistic side.
However, the data the company bases its argument on does include pickup trucks, and in the heavy-duty segment, diesels already have a more than 50 percent take rate. Currently however, not a single diesel-powered vehicle offered in the U.S. achieves true “mainstream” status, although the VW Jetta TDI comes close.
And more are on their way, including the Chevrolet Cruze diesel, based on GM’s successful compact that sold 232,000 units last year. Further, Jeep is offering yet another oil-burning Grand Cherokee, and Audi will have its diesel A4 – based on its best selling model. And with possibly a Mazda diesel on the market too, there are indicators diesels could see significant gains in coming years.
That said, government legislation and proposed Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards are heavily skewed toward hybrid and electric vehicles, thus major challenges for diesel acceptance remain. Indeed, Mercedes Benz and VW do not support the new federal regulations because there is no provision for diesel credits.
So, given the hurdles to many oil burners meeting U.S. emissions regulations, perhaps Bosch’s stance is indeed a little too optimistic.
Providing further fuel to the notion that Bosch may have its data skewed is the fact that it is a manufacturer of diesel engine components including high-pressure injectors and fuel pumps, so it has a vested interest in seeing significant growth in the diesel market stateside.
But as a final counterpoint we’ll end this by throwing out that old standby of a realist’s retort and merely say, you never know what the future actually holds, do you?