It’s a bad time to be a diesel buff. Once touted as more efficient than gasoline powered cars (that part is true), the world got a rude awakening in September, 2015 when it learned certain Volkswagen TDI models were actually spewing out a poisonous stew of NOx emissions far in excess of legal limits. For more on the culture of cheating at Volkswagen, spend an hour watching the first episode of Dirty Money on Netflix.
Many manufacturers are now building fewer diesel engine cars or planning to ditch diesels altogether. Porsche has announced recently that it will stop selling cars with diesel engines soon and Chrysler may not be far behind, according to The Verge. Citing a report in the Financial Times (paywall), it says the Motown stalwart may end sales of diesel powered cars by 2022. It will unveil a four year plan detailing how it will eliminate diesels from its lineup in June.
The initial reports do not make clear exactly which vehicles will lose their diesel power options. Fiat Chrysler manufactures Jeep, Dodge, Ram, Chrysler, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, and Fiat vehicles. It seems unlikely the diesel engine Ram 1500 light duty pickup truck will be terminated, since it is the current MPG champ in that category of vehicles, a fact that can be heavily exploited for a sales advantage in the ultra-competitive pickup truck market. The Jeep Grand Cherokee and Wrangler both offer diesel engines as optional equipment and it is possible those models could get the ax.
The news comes against the backdrop of a decision by Germany’s highest administrative court this week permitting cities to impose bans on diesel power vehicles. At one time, diesels accounted for nearly half of all new car sales in Germany, but their popularity has plunged since the Volkswagen diesel cheating scandal hit and the public found out to its shock just how much damage diesel emissions can do to human health.
It’s fair to say that diesel engines will disappear from the passenger car market fairly quickly. The big push, the one that will make the most impact on cleaning the skies over urban areas, will be replacing diesel engines in heavy trucks, many of which spew out far higher concentrations of noxious pollutants than passenger car engines do. It will be interesting to see what Fiat Chrysler has to say on that score when it releases its diesel cessation plan in June.
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