In Europe and the United States, Mercedes-Benz has been testing Sprinter commercial vans that are plug-in, diesel-electric hybrids. There has been more recently some conjecture that the General Motors E-Flex platform might include a diesel range extender, at least, in Asia, Australia, and Europe. As Autoblog Green noted, the Opel Flextreme shown at the 2007 Frankfurt Auto Show was the third variation of GM's E-Flex platform that uses a diesel range extender in place of the previous Flex-Fuel engine.
And, at the upcoming North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Volvo will show a diesel-engined version of its ReCharge Concept plug-in series hybrid, according to GCC1.
This blog previously has explored the idea of a smaller-than-normal, TDI (Turbocharged Direct Injection) diesel range extender similar to the Zytek / LTC drive train. The advantage of a series hybrid configuration is that the internal combustion engine can operate in an optimal range on an as needed basis to power the generator. While emissions are reduced, they still are problematic, and thus the need for the compression ignition, internal combustion engine to have the ability to burn cleaner fuel. One possibility is that the Flex-fuel Diesel-electric Plug-in Series Hybrid would have a small engine that burns ethanol.
Green Car Congress tells us that Khosla Ventures has invested in EcoMotors, a company that is developing a new family of compact, modular, efficient diesel engines. Vinod Khosla is scheduled to speak at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Sunday, January 13, 2008. At that time, he may have more to say about plans for a serial plug-in hybrid platform.
As this blog has suggested a minimum requirement for any range extender should be one that generates 120 CO2 g/km or less. The power plants for the Opel Agila are a 65 hp 1.0L gas engine and a 1.3L 75 hp diesel, both rated at 120 g/km.
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1Volvo to Show Diesel Version of ReCharge Plug-in Hybrid Concept
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