Having just tried out a biggish vehicle for a few days I really wish that Japan would introduce some image changing media to encourage companies to introduce more diesel-engined vehicles into their model mix in this country. Hybrids are OK (mostly ugly as sin, not fun to drive, over-priced and what to do with all those batteries at vehicle EOL, not to mention the energy required to produce, charge and recycle them…), but the addition of clean diesels would save greatly on the import of natural resources over time. Diesel engine technology has changed radically since the Tokyo blast against them a few years ago. Now is the time to talk publicly & loudly about how the clean diesel engine can effect energy saving, resource import reductions & cost savings – oh, and also deliver high performance – all in one breath. Japan has even more reason to do this now what with reduced electric power production and doubts about nuclear power station generated electricity in general – we don’t want fleets of electric cars plugging into the network when there’s hardly enough power available for users as it is. There are more and more confirmations of the abilities of the clean diesel not only in daily use but also in the competitive field to not only be extremely fuel efficient, but thereby do it in a cleaner way than many ever thought possible.
The future could hold even better diesels in the form of the opoc® engine, an Opposed Piston Opposed Cylinder configuration with high power density currently under development by a 2011 Energy Innovation Pioneer company called EcoMotors. Some may see a similarity to the Subaru diesel design, but that engine has a single piston per cylinder needing a long stroke. The opoc® engine with its dual opposing pistons per cylinder needs only half the stroke. Check out their website for an explanation by Prof. Hofbauer. It seems China is interested in energy efficiency by activating a partnership with the developer.