Global automakers DaimlerChrysler, Audi and Volkswagen plan to jointly establish “Bluetec” as a brand name for new light-duty diesel engines for light trucks and passenger cars that will be designed to be far less polluting than past models.
The name “Bluetec” refers to diesel engines with modified exhaust systems designed to reduce oxides of nitrogen (NOx). Depending on the vehicle class concerned, various NOx treatment systems can be used – such as an oxidizing catalytic converter and a particulate filter combined with a long-life NOx storage converter. Another method injects AdBlue, a water-based additive containing ammonia, into the exhaust gas to break NOx down into nitrogen and water; a process known as “selective catalytic reduction” or SCR.
DaimlerChrysler has used the Bluetec name in the past for its diesel-powered Mercedes-Benz cars and commercial vehicles. But now the name will also be applied to clean diesel engines found in Jeep-brand vehicles sold in the U.S. along with diesels produced by Audi and Volkswagen.
All three automakers are also convinced that these new “clean” diesel engines will resonate with customers despite the extra cost of the emission control technology. That thanks to Bluetec’s high torque and fuel economy – 20% to 40% better when compared to gasoline counterparts.
The OEMs also point to the recent J.D. Power study, “Global Outlook for Diesel,” which predicts the share of diesels among first-time registrations in North America will rise to over 15%.