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Old 06-21-2005, 11:29 AM
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MB to launch new US diesels

http://www.autoweek.com/news.cms?newsId=102608

Diesel Drive: Mercedes planning to launch several models as other automakers weigh options for U.S.
RICHARD TRUETT | Automotive News
Posted Date: 6/20/05
Mercedes-Benz car group plans to launch several diesel-powered vehicles in all 50 states as early as 2008, perhaps signaling a broader move to diesels by the industry.

At least two Chrysler group vehicles, the Chrysler 300 and Jeep Grand Cherokee, also could get diesel options.

Four Mercedes models - the E-Class sedan, M-Class and G-Class SUVs, and new R-Class sport wagon - are expected to be offered with diesel power.

Just five diesel-powered car models, including Mercedes' E320 CDI and two small diesel SUVs, now are available in North America. But as gasoline prices soar, automakers are taking a close look at diesels, which deliver about 30 percent greater fuel economy than a similar-sized gasoline engine.

Mercedes plans to meet tough new emissions standards that require diesels to run as cleanly as gasoline engines with an injection system that shoots urea - an ammonialike acid - into the exhaust system.

The urea changes oxides of nitrogen (NOx), the precursor of smog, into harmless nitrogen and water. Mercedes calls the system SCR, short for Selective Catalytic Reduction.

"We are working really hard to have the solution ready for the new regulations that will come in 2007-2008," says Eva Lenhardt, head of technology communications for Mercedes Car Group in Stuttgart.

Those new regulations call for light-duty trucks and cars to meet the Tier 2 emissions standard of 0.07 grams of NOx per mile.

Diesels account for fewer than 1 percent of U.S. passenger-vehicle sales, but several automakers are weighing their diesel options.

Conditions are ripe for diesels. Improved technology has boosted performance and reduced noise and smoke.

The introduction of low-sulfur fuel next year will help companies meet tough emission standards. And sustained higher fuel prices have caused carmakers to seek fuel-saving technologies.

Diesels have an advantage over gasoline-electric hybrid powertrains because they are less expensive and less complex to build. And they deliver about the same fuel economy gains as a hybrid.

Diesel king?

Mercedes aims to regain its place as the top importer of diesels in the United States, a position it held from the 1960s to the mid-1980s. Mercedes sold about 4,000 diesels in the United States last year, compared with 25,000 for Volkswagen.

Mercedes expects to sell 4,500 diesel-powered E320 CDI sedans in the United States this year. The E-class diesel went on sale here in May 2004. It is the first Mercedes diesel sold in the United States since 1999.

But Mercedes is shut out of California and New York, two of its biggest U.S. markets. The E320 CDI does not meet emissions standards in those states or in five other northeastern states that, along with New York, have adopted California's emissions standards.

The SCR system will enable Mercedes to sell its diesels nationwide, Lenhardt says.

Critical juncture

This is a critical time for automakers planning to offer diesels. They must choose an emissions strategy soon to give engineers enough time to test the technology.

By 2009, tougher Tier 2 emissions standards will require diesels to run as cleanly as gasoline engines.

The low-sulfur fuel coming next year will allow automakers to fit diesel-powered cars with particulate trap filters.

Mercedes has been developing the SCR system for years and introduced it first on large trucks in Europe in 2002.

The Boxfish bionic concept car DaimlerChrysler showed on June 7 in Washington gave the first clues about how Mercedes plans to integrate the system into cars.

The small coupe has a urea tank mounted in the spare tire well. The tank contains enough urea to enable the vehicle to run cleanly between scheduled service intervals of about 9,200 to 12,500 miles. The tank would be refilled by the dealer at each oil change.

Lenhardt says Mercedes engineers have wrestled with where and how to store urea on cars.

She said the spare tire area has plenty of unused space. "It's not sure yet, but we think it is a good idea to put the system there," she says.

SCR technology enables diesels to meet tough emissions standards, but problems remain:

>> There is no urea distribution system in the United States. But Lenhardt says Mercedes could make the substance available to consumers through auto parts stores and oil-change businesses. Or it could be sold over the parts counter at Mercedes-Benz dealerships. Mercedes markets urea under the Adblue brand name.

>> Mercedes must design a warning system that prompts drivers to replenish the urea when it runs low. The car will run without urea but won't meet emissions standards.

"We don't have the right solution for passenger cars yet," says Lenhardt. "But if we would install such a system, there would be a warning like the warning you see when you have to take the car for maintenance."

The car also could be programmed to shut down after a specified number of miles if the driver does not have the urea tank refilled, Lenhardt says.

Dislikes urea

The EPA has not been enthusiastic about urea.

Regulators don't like the system because of the potential for drivers to let vehicles run out of urea. But the EPA won't stand in the way of the technology.

Karl Simon, the EPA's acting assistant office director for the office of Transportation and Air Quality, said the agency would approve a diesel with a urea system.

"It's our responsibility to review (technology) and make sure it meets the requirements," Simon said. "Generally, if the technology meets the requirements of the regulations, it would be certified for sale."

What's in the diesel pipeline?

Mercedes-Benz may be the first automaker to reveal an aggressive North American strategy for diesel engines, but it probably won't be the last.

More fuel-saving diesel engines are expected to be introduced starting around 2007. That's because low-sulfur diesel fuel - with 15 parts per million of sulfur instead of the current 500 ppm - will become available nationwide in the fall of 2006. The change will help diesels meet stricter emissions standards.

Here's the diesel outlook for several automakers:

BMW: The X5 SUV will get a diesel in the 2007 model year.

Chrysler group: A new diesel-powered version of the Jeep Liberty is selling above expectations. DaimlerChrysler is considering diesels for the Chrysler 300 sedan and Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Ford Motor Co.: Ford has formed a North American diesel team that is integrating diesels into cars and trucks. The Ford F-150 pickup and Focus sedan are candidates for a diesel.

General Motors: Charles Freese, GM's head of diesel engineering, says light trucks and SUVs will be the focus of the company's diesel efforts. Meanwhile, GM is limited in the number of Duramax V-8 truck diesels it can build at its capacity-constrained Moraine, Ohio, engine plant. GM could source smaller displacement diesels from Europe.

Honda: A diesel Accord is being considered for North America.

Nissan: The Titan pickup is a strong candidate for a diesel, either from a U.S. engine source, such as International Truck and Engine Corp., or from Japan.

Toyota: The Tundra pickup is considered a likely candidate for a diesel. Toyota's diesel plans should be clearer once production starts at its San Antonio truck plant next spring.

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Old 06-21-2005, 11:38 AM
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What are the "two small diesel SUVs, now are available in North America"? Are they shipping CDI ML's to Canada? Gwagens?
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Old 06-21-2005, 01:01 PM
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I would buy a 300 with the 320 cdi engine so fast. Same with a grand. That would be le hot.
-Nate
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Old 06-21-2005, 01:06 PM
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It shoots urea into the exhaust ? What does the exhaust smell like ?
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Old 06-21-2005, 01:30 PM
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where does one get

replacement urea? how bib a tank does it have and how much is sprayed into the tank? after too many beers can an owner re-fill the tank himself? omg it will be just like writting your name in the snow, sand or whathaveyou
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Old 06-21-2005, 02:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeltaDave
It shoots urea into the exhaust ? What does the exhaust smell like ?
They have a catheter for the driver to insert....ummm you know where to keep it full.....and a cup holder for a super big gulp.....

I can imagine the exhaust smells a bit like a public mens room.
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Old 06-21-2005, 03:08 PM
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I wish the S-classes would come to the U.S in diesel guise, that 4.0L V-8 Turbo Diesel would be great. I hope the Chrysler 300 gets that diesel engine, that's one car I'd like to drive.
-Joe
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Old 06-21-2005, 03:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diametricalbenz
What are the "two small diesel SUVs, now are available in North America"?
Jeep Liberty and VW Touareg.
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Old 06-21-2005, 03:32 PM
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Talk about zero emissions.. wow..

I won't even be leaving pee in urinals. All it needs to do is recycle the air I breathe and decompose the water I sweat into the seat into hydrogen & oxygen, and that benz would be good for a trip to Mars.
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Old 06-21-2005, 04:40 PM
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I went and test drove the new CDI. WOW that was impressive, VERY quiet, smooth, with the a/c blowing, I couldn't even tell it was a diesel. Yes, I did smell the exhaust, smelled like air . That was even more impressive. Price tag....$53,xxx.00 HMM, not now, but maybe later, perhaps a used one. But when I can afford it, I want one!! BUT....... a G-wagon diesel, nice , I will start saving my pennies.
mpg 27city, 37 highway The salesman said his customers were getting about 39 on the highway. NOT BAD!
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  #11  
Old 06-21-2005, 05:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Auto
>> There is no urea distribution system in the United States. But Lenhardt says Mercedes could make the substance available to consumers through auto parts stores and oil-change businesses. Or it could be sold over the parts counter at Mercedes-Benz dealerships. Mercedes markets urea under the Adblue brand name.

>> Mercedes must design a warning system that prompts drivers to replenish the urea when it runs low. The car will run without urea but won't meet emissions standards.

"We don't have the right solution for passenger cars yet," says Lenhardt. "But if we would install such a system, there would be a warning like the warning you see when you have to take the car for maintenance."

The car also could be programmed to shut down after a specified number of miles if the driver does not have the urea tank refilled, Lenhardt says.
Right now, urea is as expensive (if not more) per gallon than diesel . Another thing they don't say about urea is that it can freeze solid at 12*f if not heated. The last qoute about "programmed to shut down" is just inviting problems and complaints across the country without a urea sales infrastructure in place. I can see somebody stuck in the middle of a Montana winter storm out of (or frozen) urea urea suing MB for millions.

But I'm sure it would not be harder than a simple re-wire of the "urea level sensor" to always be "full."
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Old 06-21-2005, 06:13 PM
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magnum

with 320cdi and six speed please, for me... in a heartbeat!
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..I also have a 427 Cobra replica with an aluminum chassis.
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Old 06-21-2005, 07:35 PM
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If Mercedes wants to compete with VW for the diesel market in the Jettas' why dont they offer us a c-class diesel? It would be a great commuter car.I'm sure its offered in europe!
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Old 06-21-2005, 08:58 PM
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i dont understand

the urea thing because every year they jack up the price of it and tell us how theres a shortage. Something doesnt add up.
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Old 06-21-2005, 09:00 PM
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Are diesel really worth it in the short term, considering the extra intial expense, added to the fact that diesel in most parts i've seen is 25 cents higher than regualr unleaded.

Evertime I fill up my 240, I keep as king myself why anyone would buy one new.

I love 'em, I just don't see the economic sense, at least at the current prices.

.02

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