Sunday, August 11, 2013

Diesels: cleaner than hybrids

Hybrid cars, such as the Toyota Prius, have been praised by the "politically-correct" crowds due to a supposedly lower environmental footprint through an expectable operational life around 10 to 15 years, but it's quite unaccurate to trust only in marketing tricks. In the end, even an old beater can often feature a greater "environmental performance", eventually including 7700lbs. GVWR trucks such as the Mercedes-Benz MB-180 D which was assembled in Spain until '97, available in some markets with the legendary OM616 engine in a version rated at 79hp backed by a 5-speed manual front-driven transaxle.
Diesels have been known for their enhanced adaptability to alternative fuels, including waste cooking oils, while the most mainstream hybrids aren't so suitable to anything other than ethanol or gaseous fuels. An indirect-injection Diesel engine such as the OM616 can use nearly anything as fuel, altough some like ethanol and gaseous fuels might work only thru supplementary injection at the intake and still requiring a pilot-injection from either regular Diesel fuel or biodiesel, vegetable oil, or even old engine oil.
Dr. Rudolf Diesel himself was a visionary, predicting the possibilities to bring energy independence to agricultural villages in the former German Southeast Africa (currently Namibia), since biofuels could get their production less concentrated and more regionalized, allowing the choice for the most suitable one to regional needs or preferences, and cutting part of the cost of the logistic process to ensure its supplies. With direct injection, he even considered the possibilities to use pure ethanol, without any of the ignition improvers used in the Scania ethanol-powered buses from Stockholm. After all, the increased thermal efficiency in the Diesel cycle compared to a regular spark-ignited engine is still worth the higher initial cost, at a point that it took nearly all the market share in heavy-duty trucks.

It's also not so unusual for a Diesel engine to outlast a hybrid setup before an engine overhaul becomes required, even when the Diesel is submitted to higher load factors. The absence of an electric ignition system with many components prone to natural wear also decreases the amount of replacement parts and the respective raw materials and energy required to manufacture them.
Another increasingly controversial aspect regarding hybrids is about the higher mineral extraction and energy expenses involved in all the industrial and logistic procedures before the vehicle is ready to run. A set of battery packs can usually last 10 to 15 years before starting to fail, and altough its chemicals can be recycled, it's an energy-expensive procedure that also implies safety risks due to the reactivity of the electrolythic compounds. All the supposedly lower energy consumption during the operational lifespan of the hybrid vehicle is hardly recovered when compared to a Diesel-engined vehicle with similar performance ratings, even considering an eventually higher consumption increasement while using a specific alternative fuel as reference, such as E100 ethanol. For example, a Prius and a Peugeot Partner 1.4e-HDi can both get a 62MPG rating with gasoline and Diesel fuel respectively, while running on ethanol the Prius has a 30% mileage decreasement to 43.4MPG while the Peugeot can get a mileage decreasement around 50% to just 31MPG. Well, if we remember the lesser amount of DPF regen cycles in the Partner while using ethanol blends, an increasement lower than 50% on the fuel consumption might actually be expected when using pure ethanol due to the absence of particulate matter generation...

After all, a Diesel-powered old beater can still be way cleaner than a highly-acclaimed hybrid...


  1. Hybrids are for selfish fags or forever-alone old bitches, diesels are for everybody else with a brain. I have never seen anybody who bought a hybrid and wasn't either mentally disturbed or just dumb enought to fall under the marketing tricks regarding that fake greenish image.

    1. Hell yeah. I've never seen a hybrid owner who didn't brag about some supposed lower footprint thru the entire operational life of the vehicle.


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