TRAVERSE CITY, MICH.-- DaimlerChrysler AG has become the third automaker to build a diesel engine that meets the EPAs strict emissions levels that take effect in 2007.
Toyota Motor Corp. and Volkswagen AG also have shown the EPA engines that will meet the tougher regulations, which require diesel to run almost as clean as gasoline engines.
Bernard Robertson, Chrysler group senior vice president of engineering, technology and regulatory affairs, said the engine still must pass emissions durability tests, which requires no degradation of the emission system for 10 years or 150,000 miles.
The test was conducted using low-sulfur European diesel fuel, Robertson said Tuesday, Aug. 5, at the Management Briefing Seminars.
Robertson would not say which unit of DaimlerChrysler – the Chrysler group or Mercedes-Benz – will use the diesel engine. DaimlerChrysler has announced plans for two diesel engines for North American products. A V-6 diesel engine will be optional in the 2004 Mercedes-Benz E-class sedan; a four-cylinder diesel will be available in the Jeep Liberty late next year. Both engines are turbocharged.
We are one of the companies the EPA has identified as having demonstrated a prototype, Robertson said.
He said DaimlerChrysler still has not settled on an aftertreatment system to clean up the exhaust.
Conceptually there are a variety of techniques that have been demonstrated on a prototype basis, Robertson said. There are practicality and durability issues still to be established, and cost is a huge issue.
Robertson said dealer reaction to the Jeep Liberty diesel has been mixed.
Some dealers have said, Thats great. Wed love to have it, Robertson said. Others look at their marketplace and say, No ones asking me for diesels. There are none out there. We are just going to put it out there and see what happens.
Robertson said Chrysler will build as many units of the diesel Liberty as the market demands.
Diesel engines are more expensive than their gasoline counterparts. A diesel engine in a Volkswagen New Beetle, Jetta or Golf adds about $1,100 to the suggested retail price. Robertson said Chrysler is still determining how much extra, if any, to charge for the diesel in the Liberty.