TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- DaimlerChrysler has become the third automaker to build a diesel engine that meets the EPA's strict emissions rules for 2007.
Toyota Motor Corp. and Volkswagen also have shown the EPA engines that will meet the tougher rules, which require diesels 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. Those tests require no degradation of the emission system for 10 years or 150,000 miles.
Robertson spoke here last week at the Management Briefing Seminars, an annual event that brings together top executives from automakers and supplier companies for a week of presentations and discussion. The event is sponsored by the Center for Automotive Research and the University of Michigan.
Tests on the diesel were conducted with low-sulfur European diesel fuel, Robertson said.
Robertson would not say which unit of DaimlerChrysler - the Chrysler group or Mercedes-Benz - will use the engine.
DaimlerChrysler has announced plans for two diesel engines for North American products. A V-6 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.
Robertson said DaimlerChrysler has not picked an after-treatment 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 option has been mixed.
"Some dealers have said, 'That's great. We'd love to have it,' " Robertson said. "Others look at their marketplace and say, 'No one's asking me for diesels. There are none out there.' We are just going to put it out there and see what happens."