Jan. 10, 2007: Business Week—Honda’s Diesel-Powered Dreams

Summary: "With both General Motors (GM) and Toyota (TM) throwing the hefty weight of their engineering dollars and public-relations efforts behind hybrid-electric cars, you might think the alternative energy debate would end right there. Hybrids, not diesel-fueled cars, will be the mileage booster of choice for every major car market except Europe.

Well, Honda isn’t convinced. Honda (HMC), known as one of the world’s premier engine makers and a pioneer of hybrids, is getting more interested in diesel. Honda Chief Executive Officer Takeo Fukui says that hybrid systems are the better choice for small cars, but larger cars and sport-utility vehicles may be better suited for diesel. In an interview at Detroit’s North American International Auto Show, Fukui told BusinessWeek.com through an interpreter that starting in three years, Honda will begin to roll out diesel engines, and they will probably be employed in its larger vehicles. In fact, he says Honda has not yet decided whether the next-generation Accord family sedan will get a hybrid system when it hits the market late this year. It could get a diesel eventually, he says."

With the advent of cleaner, low-sulfur diesel fuel in the US, consumers may have an easier time accepting diesel-powered cars and light trucks in the driveway. Europeans already embrace diesel for its ability to eke out the mileage.

Biodiesel could also help make a barrel of crude oil go much farther.

But diesel technology still needs work to ensure that deadly emissions don’t cancel out the value of fuel efficiency.

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