DETROIT -- By 2015, 20 percent of vehicles sold in the United States could be diesel powered, said Kevin DeHart, senior vice president of diesel systems for Robert Bosch Corp.
We see diesels as no problem, DeHart said Tuesday at a panel discussing auto technologies.
DeHarts prediction follows the Chrysler groups announcement that 14,000 consumers expressed interest in the 2005 diesel-powered Jeep Liberty that will go on sale in early 2005. That interest level is nearly three times greater than the automaker expected, DeHart said.
Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen have developed diesels for the United States. Bosch provides fuel system parts for the Mercedes and Jeep diesel models in the United States and for diesel-powered vehicles in Europe. In many European markets, vehicles with diesel-powered engines outsell those with gasoline-powered engines.
Interest in diesel-powered vehicles in the United States has increased as the price of gasoline has risen.
Recent developments have made diesel-powered engines cleaner and more efficient, but they still emit more oxides of nitrogen than gasoline-powered vehicles, and engineers are unsure whether diesels can meet the next round of clean-air guidelines.