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Since the theme of the plug-in car is to move away from oil dependance; I suggest you use a diesel engine for distance asistance. This will allow future owners, as I might be, to use bio-diesel a renewable energy fuel. If I were on a long trip and could not find bio-diesel, I could always settle for petrolium based diesel fuel. This would allow for a move to both electric and alternative fuels in the same vehicle.
Perhaps the diesel engine could be an option. Hopefully a survey would yield some valued results.
 

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I think a diesel option is cool, but have you seen the price of diesel lately? It's darn close to $4 per gallon here!

On the bright side, the Volt's massive battery pack could drive some serious glow plugs and make cold weather starting of diesels a lot easier. (I'm a former diesel car owner)
 

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diesel - the only sustainable bio fuel

Have you seen the Lutz poo poo on diesels in the US ?

Does Lutz not know about the internet ? Does he think we are stupid consumers who don’t know how to Google ?

Google this - GM sells cars in Europe that meet EURO5/6 that takes affect Jan 2009.

US wide the requirement is Tier 2 BIN5. These standards are in point of fact LESS than EURO5/6.

VW is selling the Jetta diesel here in 2008 in all 50 states, and have nearly filled their 2009 production quota already…

SO, why doesn’t he want a small diesel ? Remember, a small diesel with a set rpm will ALWAYS produce less CO2 and less emmisions than ANY gas / E85 engine can do…

Answer: the diesel will last nearly as long as the Li-I battery so we will be driving it too long = less sales.

On cost - 49 states charge higher taxes on diesel - 10% - 29%

But, if you can figure out if you should buy 12 eggs for $1.43 or 18 for $2.09 you can figure out that Gas at $3.80 vs Diesel at $4.29 is much less of an increase than the 40% better economy of the diesel engine. And look at the rest of the world's dealerships - the diesel option is ususally about $700 more, sometimes like the Ford Ranger in the UK, the diesel is the only engine offered.
 

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Diesels aren't ideal for all applications

Diesels have weak points in NVH and smoothness at startup. They're also heavier and more expensive for a similar application, and require expertise for maintenance and service. I think the long-term ideal ICE is probably an HCCD flex-fuel engine, and GM is working on HCCD. This offers some of the best qualities of both diesel and spark-ignition engines, but the added expense of the system would probably better suited to ICE-only cars than to the Volt.

You have to keep in mind that GM will be able to use a fairly simple engine effectively. They just need to select an engine that has its peak efficiency in the same RPM range they're seeking to turn the generator... no complex variable valve timing, etc. because they'll be able to optimize the engine for a narrow RPM band, it just needs to start/shutdown smoothly and run efficiently at the generator's preferred RPM.

Gasoline has fewer problems in low temperature ranges than diesel, is available at every gas station and is (at the moment) significantly cheaper than diesel. I think GM should pick their battles... Americans are VERY skeptical of GM automotive diesels for purely historical reasons. Many Americans couldn't point to Belgium on a globe, they don't understand that GM produces very good competitive automotive diesels in Europe, they just remember their dad's horrible 350 diesel Oldsmobile.
 
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