VW Launches Diesel Tutorial Site for Americans

Well, anyone can visit the site to learn about Volkswagen’s TDI clean-diesel engines, but it’s aimed at U.S. car buyers, who are still a bit leery of the technology.

The first hurdle in America is cost. In Europe, gasoline carries a heavy tax, making diesel vehicles the cheaper choice in the long run, despite higher initial cost. VW wants to convince us here in the U.S. of the value of fewer fill-ups and great gas mileage — like the nearly 40 mpg I got in the Jetta TDI Sportwagen.

Second is the lingering perception that diesel is stinky and gross. Thanks to strict emissions standards in the U.S. — and stricter standards on the way — diesel is no longer the sooty, smelly mess of a fuel that it used to be. Clean diesel pretty much lives up to its name, and VW rival Mercedes has a tail-pipe treatment in the BlueTec system that cleans the emissions further.

Don’t forget the benefits of biodiesel, especially when it can be made from post-consumer oils. VW has long been on the biodiesel wagon, even allowing customers to use it without violating the warranties on their new diesels.

I was at a meeting with Stefan Jacoby, CEO of VW North America, last week. He said VW is leaning heavily on its clean-diesel and improved gasoline technologies to improve fuel efficiency by as much as 50% in the next few years rather than investing heavily in hybrids and EVs. We’ll find out in the next decade how that strategy plays out for VW, versus the likes of GM’s Chevy Volt extended-range EV or Mitsubishi’s i MiEV.

Image by Kristen Hall-Geisler.

Tags: , , ,