Clean diesel technology powered the top three winning vehicles and 12 of 17 entries overall in a national engineering competition known as Challenge X to design the green cars of the future.
"Today we have a glimpse of the leading technologies that will power our future cars, trucks and SUVs, and it's no surprise that the winner was a clean diesel engine running on renewable biofuels, coupled with a hybrid powertrain," said Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum. "Challenge X demonstrates that, thanks to its energy efficiency and low CO2 emissions, clean diesel will play a far greater role in reducing our dependence on foreign oil and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the years ahead. Over the next 16 months, more than a dozen new clean diesel vehicles will be available to consumers."
Seventeen universities fielded engineering teams to design a car that runs on smaller amounts of fuel made from renewable resources. Each team reconfigured a Chevrolet Equinox sport utility vehicle using hybrid, plug-in or fuel cell technology and alternative fuels sources such as biodiesel, ethanol and hydrogen. Twelve of the teams used diesel as part of their technology solution.
General Motors, the U.S. Department of Energy and others sponsored the competition, whose winner was announced today at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
The idea is to train a new generation of engineers interested in finding cleaner, more efficient, less expensive vehicles.
Diesel cars, trucks and SUVs provide 20 to 40 percent better mileage and emit 10 to 20 percent fewer greenhouse gases than comparable gasoline vehicles. In addition to superior fuel economy and reduced emissions, American drivers who purchase cleaner-burning diesel cars, trucks and SUVs are eligible for similar tax incentives as purchasers of gasoline-hybrid electric vehicles.