Diesel hybrids can reduce CO2 fleet average, market researcher says
Although the initial costs for Diesel hybrid vehicles are higher than for comparable HEVs with gasoline engine, diesel hybrids provide higher performance, lower CO2 emissions and better fuel efficiency. For this reason, Diesel-based HEVs will have a positive impact on the CO2 emission bottom line in the future, says market research company Frost & Sullivan.
Over the last two decades, Diesel engines have become more popular among European consumers, due to their higher fuel efficiency, lower CO2 emission values and fun-to-drive perception when compared to gasoline engines. Although these factors contribute to the high proportion of diesel engines in Europe, the principal drawback of diesel engines is the challenge in controlling particulate matter (PM) and emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx).
“European car manufacturers have adopted different strategies to reduce PM and NOx emissions, and one of those adopted is engine downsizing,” says Research Analyst, Bharath Kumar Srinivasan, from Frost & Sullivan. “However, downsizing a diesel engine will result in higher NOx emissions.”
Automotive OEMs therefore need to develop diesel engines, which meet low CO2 targets whilst complying with EU emission standards (Euro norms) at the same time. The PSA Group added a hybrid kit to a diesel powertrain and unveiled the diesel Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4 with 200 bhp and CO2 emission as low as 99 g/km. The diesel powertrain produces a power output of 163 bhp and the electric motor generates an additional 37 bhp. Both powertrains are capable of running independently, thus offering the flexibility of using the all-electric mode within cities and making it a zero-emission vehicle.
Diesel hybridisation will be a significant trend toward meeting the 2020 targets of 95 gm/km, set by the European Commission. However, the higher costs of the technologies involved in a diesel hybrid, like the Hybrid4 technology, have been a key limitation to the launch of diesel hybrids. Attractive packaging is therefore expected to be a crucial proposition. “PSA has managed to combine the best of technologies into a single package,” Srinivasan explains. “The c for instance, a crossover vehicle, allows multi-purpose use and is more practical for covering long distance (inter-city) travel. It therefore has an added advantage over electric vehicles, for which the driving range is often an issue – especially for travel between cities.”
With the leading volume brands – Fiat, PSA, Renault & Volkswagen – all having a strong diesel portfolio, a joint development of diesel-hybrid solutions could prove beneficial. Not only does it lower development costs, it also offers the required economies of scale with the potential for large volumes. Alliances between Automotive OEMs are therefore key, as they offer benefits ranging from product development to deployment. PSA’s cooperation with BMW for hybrid components and the BMW-Daimler-GM joint development of the two-mode hybrid, although expensive, are successful examples for joint development.
According to Srinivasan’s analysis, the Hybrid4 from the PSA Group is a benchmark for other OEMs in the region for adopting low-emission vehicles. PSA is the world’s first OEM that has introduced a diesel-hybrid powertrain. The PSA Group also plans to introduce plug-in hybrids in the future. Another French OEM, Renault, is likely to adopt a different strategy by introducing all-electric powertrains. Fiat, on the other hand, is likely to introduce gasoline ‘MultiAir’ and diesel ‘MultiJet II’ engines that include a 0.9 litre, 2-cylinder gasoline engine.