News: Chevrolet Silverado Diesel Signals Resurgence

News: Chevrolet Silverado Diesel Signals Resurgence

Four of Five Light-duty Pickups Will Now Offer Diesel Engines

Like Samuel Clemens’ famous anti-epitaph, the death of diesel engine during this past year has been greatly exaggerated, if you look at the news coming out of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Saturday, Jan. 13, Chevrolet announced that its 2019 Silverado pickup will get a healthy dose of car tech along with a stout diesel engine that will allow it to go toe-to-toe with the just-announced 2019 Ford F-150 diesel and two incumbents, the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel and Nissan Titan XD.

2019 Chevrolet Silverado

With the Duramax six, all three pickup leaders now will offer diesels

The Chevrolet Silverado Duramax diesel is an inline six that GM’s Global Product Development Chief Mark Reuss said would be the “best-performing” engine in the class. No specs were released, so it is unclear if Reuss was talking about horsepower, torque, fuel economy or some combination of them all. More details were promised soon.

The new Duramax and the revised carryover 5.3-liter and 6.2-liter V8 will mate up with a new Hydra-Matic 10-speed transmission to optimize fuel economy. Those engines will also get something GM is calling Dynamic Fuel Management, which has the ability to shut off cylinders not needed for acceleration. That technology, on which they didn’t elaborate, sounds like Tula Technology’s Dynamic Skip Fire that Clean Fleet Report recently test drove. The engine also will add start-stop capability.

Materials News

In another swipe at its cross-town rival, Chevrolet made a major point of its up to 450-pound weight loss without simply swapping out steel for aluminum. GM took a much more complicated path of analyzing each part and component on the truck and determining the best material to use that would deliver weight reduction while maintaining durability, safety and functionality.

2019 Chevrolet Silverado

Chevy’s weight-loss program meant using different materials throughout the truck

That process results in the 2019 Silverado, which ends up with aluminum doors, hood and tailgate, steel body panels and bed, high strength steel chassis and advanced high strength steel for some of the key structural pieces of the cab (they ended up with seven different grades of steel in the truck in the end). The same analysis resulted in substitutions such as carbon-composite second stage-springs that saved more than 12 pounds wherever they were used compared to the previous stamped steel units.

The weight reduction program is even more remarkable when you look at the dimensions of the new truck. It has grown almost four inches in wheelbase and 1.6 inches overall compared to its predecessor. Those extra inches have been used to increase cabin and cargo space.

In addition to weight reduction, the Silverado also got some serious wind tunnel work to reduce aerodynamic drag. Engineers also added features borrowed from car models such as the air curtains in the grill first seen in the sixth generation Camaro.

And All the Car Tech

2019 Chevrolet Silverado

Inside, the Silverado gets even more car-like

The 2019 Chevrolet Silverado (as well as its GMC Sierra cousin, which will be introduced later this year) receives a healthy dose of previously car-based technology. Reuss promised the new Silverado would be “the most connected” truck GM has ever offered. They didn’t announce all of the features, but said the Silverado will get wireless phone charging, 4G LTE Wi-Fi connectivity, Apple Car Play, Android Auto and more features to be announced later.

Chevrolet’s adding three new trim levels to the Silverado so customers will now be able to choose from nine different models of the pickup. The packages highlight options designed for odd-roading and different tire-wheel combos. Compared to passenger cars, pickup trucks remain highly customizable vehicles, something Chevy clearly wants to tap into.

New 2019 Chevrolet Silverados are expected to go on sale this fall. Pricing will be announced closer to launch, but it’s likely there will be little change from current pricing because of the highly competitive truck market.

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News: 2018 Ford F-150 Gets A Diesel Engine, Finally

News: 2018 Ford F-150 Gets A Diesel Engine, Finally

Best Fuel Economy And Towing Promised

More than 10 years ago, Ford jointly developed a 3.0-liter turbocharged diesel engine with PSA Peugeot Citroën, which is currently used in some Land Rover models. Recently, the same engineering group that brought the 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel to the Ford heavy-duty pickup lineup in 2011 upgraded and tweaked the old 3.0-liter diesel and can’t wait to tell us about it.

2018 Ford F-150 Power Stroke Diesel

Ford promises a towing power and fuel economy boost

This morning Ford revealed details about the 2018 Ford F-150 diesel-powered pickup that debuts next week at the Detroit auto show. The new F-150 Power Stroke diesel targets:

  • EPA-estimated 30 mpg highway rating,
  • Best-in-class 11,400 pounds of towing capacity,
  • 2,020 pounds of payload capacity, plus
  • Best-in-class (diesel) 250 horsepower and 440 pounds-feet of torque.

“The magic number is the 30-mpg target,” says Dave Felipe, vice president-global powertrain engineering. “The more you tow and the longer you haul, the more you’ll appreciate its class-leading towing and payload capacity and how efficient it is at the pump.”

The company expects about a five percent take rate for the diesel option, with an estimated 85 percent of those buyers towing on a regular basis. Ford sold almost 900,000 F-Series (which includes the heavy-duty models) so even five percent could end up being equal to the total sales of the Nissan Titan, for instance.

Engine Details

The dual-overhead camshaft (DOHC), four-valves-per-cylinder Power Stroke diesel engine features a compacted-graphite iron block, a forged-steel crank, common-rail fuel

2018 Ford F-150 Power Stroke Diesel

Diesel power comes to the F-150 lineup for the first time

injection and a high-efficiency, variable-geometry single-scroll turbocharger. Dual fuel filters are added for improved break-in, while a cast-aluminum oil pan and two-stage oil pump mean reduced parasitic loss and improved fuel efficiency.

The engine features a mechanical engine-driven cooling fan and dual radiator shutters for improved high-temperature and high-altitude driving in harsh performance conditions.

“We know that competing diesels with electric cooling fans have to dial back on power under extreme heat and altitude, so we decided on a viscous-controlled mechanical fan that has the capacity to move much more air across the radiator and intercooler in extreme conditions,” says David Ives, Ford diesel engine technical specialist.

Calibrated specifically for the all-new 3.0-liter Power Stroke diesel’s low-end power and torque curves, a standard 10-speed automatic transmission, jointly developed with General Motors, maximizes shift points and gear ratios to optimize power, low-rpm torque and efficiency. To help reduce fuel consumption and vehicle emissions during city driving, start-stop also comes standard.

Ford says there will be a 150,000-mile service interval on the timing belt, and the 5.4-gallon exhaust after treatment fluid supply should be good for 10,000 miles per fill. Powertrain warranty coverage will match that of the F-150’s other engines: Five years/60,000 miles.

Inside, changes are limited to a Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) gauge, some optional diesel information screens borrowed from the 6.7-liter Power Stroke models, and a water-level warning light for the water-separating fuel filter.

Customer Orders Begin in Mid-January

2018 Ford F-150 Power Stroke Diesel

Ford moves the Power Stroke name down a weight class

Customers in the U.S. and Canada will be able to place orders of the 2018 F-150 Power Stroke diesel trucks in a couple of weeks, with delivery this spring. The diesel will add between $2,400 and $4,000 to the sticker price, depending on trim.

Retail customers will be able to order the engine on Lariat, King Ranch, and Platinum trim levels on SuperCrew cabs with 5.5- or 6.5-foot beds or on Lariat SuperCabs with a 6.5- or 8.0-foot bed. The option will add $4,000 to the Lariat trim price, or $3,000 to the two higher trim levels. In both cases the diesel price represents a $2,400 premium over the optional 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6.

Fleet customers only will be able to order the engine on XL and XLT SuperCab or SuperCrew cabs with 6.5- or 8.0-foot beds. Fleet pricing was not revealed.

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Interview: BMW’s Goal: 25 Electrified Cars by 2025

Interview: BMW’s Goal: 25 Electrified Cars by 2025

German Company Sets Aggressive Goal for Future Cars

We here at Clean Fleet Report absolutely love it when auto manufacturers set their bar high when it comes to new models. We are always rooting for what seems to be the impossible, so we applaude BMW for what should be an exciting time for them, and automotive enthusiasts, as they plan to launch 25 all-new electrified cars by the year 2025.

CFR sat down, at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show, with Ralph Mahler, Department Manager of Product Planning & Strategy at BMW of North America. His time was valuable, so we kept the questions short and to the point, specifically asking what was coming next and the expected mix of electricity, diesel and hydrogen. We are intrigued with what we heard.

BMW Future

BMW is building its future

CFR: BMW has made the bold announcement of 25 new cars by the year 2025. Can you give more details on these cars?

BMW: By 2025, we will have 25 new electrified vehicles. Out of the 25, we will have 12 battery electric and 13 hybrid vehicles. Of these, there will be an all-electric Mini in 2018 and the X3 sport utility in 2020.

CFR: Will any of the new all-electric cars be specifically designed to take on Tesla, head-to-head?

BMW: We are not just taking on Tesla or focusing on just one car, but it is part of a whole strategy. We integrate the battery-electric drivetrain at an early stage into our platforms. This gives us the possibility to react quickly and the possibility to shift, during the next decade, because nobody knows when the complete shift will take place, to put our hybrid and battery-electric drivetrains into all platforms. This is the right thing for us to do.

BMW was the first to come up with purpose-built platforms for the i3 and i8. But we came pretty fast to a conclusion that for scaling, this was not the right way to do it. So, this is a completely different approach than you can see from some of our competitors in the electrification of cars. We are a step further ahead because we did our first round with the purpose-built platforms, but now we know that our new approach is the right way for the future. The nice thing about this as well, is that since we use the same platform, once we have a new battery technology generation, it is much easier to develop it once, and then roll it out over multiple platforms.

CFR: The iPerformance models are selling well. What is the thinking on how these models will transition from combustion engines to electric?

BMW: iPerformance is part of our strategy in this transition phase in the next decade. It is a clear road for these customers going from combustion engines into the next generation of battery electric vehicles. But, in between, most customers will be going into a plug-in hybrid first. Therefore, the iPerformance models are very important for us because we already know that once we have customers in a plug-in hybrid model that 80 to 90-percent of them say their next purchase will be a full battery electric vehicle.

CFR: Let’s briefly talk about the future of diesel in the United States for BMW.

BMW Future

Mini’s future is getting more electric

BMW: Diesel is currently important with the demand being in SUVs, but lower in sedans. We believe with plug-in hybrids we have a technology which helps us convince these customers that going into the new electrification era is their next step. We see diesel, especially for passenger cars, decreasing as these customers move into a plug-in hybrid.

CFR: What about hydrogen?

BMW: Hydrogen is very interesting to us. Through what we have done, and what our competitors have done, there is no clear picture as to where this will be in 2030. The key is (how quickly) a high-density battery for performance and range (is developed). Plus, the infrastructure for hydrogen is more costly and at the moment it is at a way lower level than a plug-in car.

CFR: To wrap-up, what is your vision of BMW’s future?

BMW: Like our Chairman of the Board of Management Harald Krueger stated: “The BMW Group has a clear vision of how our customers in the premium segment will stay on the move after 2030. Mobility will be autonomous, electric and fully connected. In all of this, the emotional experience of our customers plays a central role. Individual mobility will be tailor-made to fulfill all of their personal desires and needs.” BMW has a goal, this year, of selling 100,000 electrified vehicles worldwide. The future, by 2035, there will probably only be hybrid combustion engine vehicles; hydrogen fuel cells for big vehicles going long ranges; and for daily commutes you will see battery electric vehicles. Mobility will always be an important issue in the next 100 years, and we believe the future is definitely electrified.

Photo credit: Lex Adams

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Tech: 2018 Chevrolet Equinox Ecotec 1.6L Turbodiesel

Tech: 2018 Chevrolet Equinox Ecotec 1.6L Turbodiesel

GM Doubles Down on Diesel for MPG and Torque

At a time when many auto manufacturers are leaning away from diesel, General Motors seems to be all in. General Motors is rightfully proud of the Duramax turbocharged diesel truck engines, with the 6.6L found in its full-size heavy-duty Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups and the 2.8L in the mid-size trucks—Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon. Clean Fleet Report tested the 2016 Colorado Diesel and was impressed with the engine’s smooth and torquey power and the 30+ mpg fuel economy.

Ecotec 1.6L Turbo Diesel illustration

In inside view of the newest diesel in GM’s lineup

But what about drivers that don’t want or need a truck, but still want the fuel economy of a diesel? Chevrolet has you covered with the Cruze Diesel that gets in excess of 50 miles per gallon on the highway. With Volkswagen no longer offering a diesel power plant, the Cruze Diesel should satisfy drivers with long commutes who want efficiency in a sedan or hatchback.

This is all good for truck and compact car diesel enthusiasts, but what about the fastest growing and largest sales segment of the auto industry—crossovers and sport utility vehicles? Chevrolet hasn’t left you wanting as the 2018 Equinox comes in a gasoline and diesel variant, with the diesel engine accomplishing a notable feat.

Ecotec 1.6L Turbodiesel

The Ecotec 1.6L turbodiesel, currently available in the Equinox compact SUV, has just been EPA rated at a best-in-class 39 mpg highway, with a 28 mpg in the city. Combine this with the 14.8 gallon fuel tank, and the 577 miles of driving range is also best-in-class. Horsepower is rated at 137 with 240 pounds-feet of torque.

This “best-in-class” designation includes topping the hybrid versions of the compact SUVs: Toyota RAV4 and the Nissan Rogue. It is no small accomplishment to reach these fuel economy numbers in a 4,000+ pound SUV available in two- and four-wheel drive. Clean Fleet Report will have a full review of the Equinox with the 1.6L turbo-diesel soon.

General Motors Has a Diesel Plan

General Motor’s engine and transmission engineers are now part of the Propulsion Systems team. The new terminology recognizes that engines can be powered by the conventional gasoline and diesel fuels, but also battery electric, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, natural gas and hydrogen fuel cells. GM designers and engineers must now be aware of a diverse universe of power plants to satisfy the needs of customers worldwide.

Gm diesel lineup

GM now has a full lineup of diesels for a variety of applications–covering compact sedans through heavy-duty pickups–and now crossovers

Worldwide, General Motors has 34 diesel models—12 of those being sold in the United States—including five diesel engines ranging from a 1.0L three-cylinder to the 6.6L V8.

The most recent new diesel engine on the scene is the Ecotec 1.6L, found in the 2018 Equinox. Designed in Torino, Italy; built in Hungary; and with engineering teams from the United States and Germany working on the five-year project, this is a prime example of GM’s ability to work on a global scale. Tom Read, GM Global Propulsion Systems Communications, said that “General Motors gives customers a choice in vehicles and propulsion systems, along with efficiency, premium torque and high fuel economy.”

The estimated 2020 compact SUV market will be somewhere around three million vehicles, with 16-percent of these buyers considering diesel. These 480,000 potential consumers for diesel-powered compact SUVs, the category the Equinox lives in, means GM is anticipating strong sales for the Equinox diesel.

Observations: General Motors is All In with Diesel

General Motors has stated its goals of offering multiple vehicle and engine options for customers. Its diesel program offers outstanding fuel economy, great torque and a good variety of models to meet driver’s lifestyles. With diesel power currently in full and mid-size trucks, a compact sedan and hatchback and now a small SUV, consumers should be able to find something that meets their needs.

Clean Fleet Report is a fan of diesel and hopes that GM broadens the model availability with this economical power option.

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First Drive: 2017 Land Rover Discovery Td6

First Drive: 2017 Land Rover Discovery Td6

Diesel’s Very Alive & Found a Good Home

Some things are made for each other. We believe that goes for modern diesel engines and SUVs, particularly those capable of real off-road adventures. The 2017 Land Rover Discovery Td6, which we drove at the recent Western Automotive Journalists’ Media Day program, fully embodies the concept.

Land Rover Discovery Td6

The big boys like the Discovery are designed for diesel

Driving off-road road (and, we’d add, on-road) requires torque. It is the most elemental part of driving—that grunt power to launch from a dead stop or accelerate in critical situations. Not coincidentally, that’s why we love electric vehicles, since electric motors provide maximum torque at low speeds. But as the weight of the vehicle increases, electrics tend to strain as they have to add weight to carry the batteries that provide the power. Moving to the traditional internal combustion engine, the diesel version is one that provides a great balance of tremendous torque and a more acceptable power-to-weight ratio.

The other aspect where diesel thrives is moving large vehicles. It’s no accident that diesel power is behind locomotives, giant ocean-going vessels and some of the largest land equipment found in mines in the arctic. A compression ignition engine does the work, while delivering fuel efficiency superior to spark-ignited engines fueled by gasoline.

The Brits Take It to the Limit

While much of the automotive world has been treating diesel as a pariah in light of the Volkswagen emissions cheating scandal, the Brits at Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) have taken an opposite tack. The company has a long history with diesel and a stable of luxury vehicles not oriented toward fuel efficiency, so diesel power is a logical approach to meeting the increasingly stringent standards for engines around the world while still delivering the performance expected in this class of convenience.

With its executives railing against the “demonization” of diesel, JLR has moved forward by introducing diesel powertrains in both its Jaguar sedans and SUVs as well as in the venerable Land Rover SUVs.

Land Rover Discovery Td6

The badge that covers all the bases–on-road & off

We drove the 2017 Land Rover Discovery Td6, which we think is the perfect fit for the 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 engine. It cranks out 254 horsepower, significantly less than the base 3.0-liter supercharged gas engine, but delivers 443 pounds-feet of torque, which is what a 4900-pound SUV really craves.   

The power is needed to haul around the seven-passenger off-road machine, capable as are all Land Rovers of going far beyond the mall-cruising they are typically relegated to in this country. With its 26-mpg highway rating and 22.5-gallon tank, the diesel Land Rover is capable to taking you more than 585 miles on the highway or into the outback. As with most diesels, I suspect with some judicious driving and a light load 30 mpg highway is within reach in the Discovery.

A Full Luxury SUV

While Land Rover has its roots in hard-core off-road machines and retains that basic capability, in recent years it has moved dramatically into the hard-core luxury market. The 2017 Land Rover Discovery HSE Luxury Td6 I drove was probably the epitome of the brand. While a basic Discovery with the 340-horsepower supercharged gas engine starts at $49,990, the diesel variant starts at $58,950 and the Luxury model I drove began at $65,950 with a full-contingent of premium features. But, of course, you could add to that and easily push the cost up into the stratosphere.

Land Rover Discovery Td6, interior

Soft touch and secret spaces

Everything is easy, as it should be, in a luxury SUV. Surfaces seems soft-touch, where a gentle press of a finger brings electronics to life or alerts the features of your desires. I didn’t get a chance (this time—I have in the past) to take the Land Rover off-road to really get a feel for its capability, but on-road it offered smooth power with a wonderfully high-riding, commanding point of view from the 12-way power driver’s seat. The upgrade 825-watt, 14-speaker Meridian sound system was what you might expect. Other luxury and technology features were in abundance.

As is befitting a luxury vehicle, the slight diesel clatter at start quickly dissipated as the SUV got up to speed and smooth and quiet torque was available throughout the powerband. The 2017 Land Rover Discovery Td6 continues a strong tradition as an unmatched four-wheel-drive off-road machine that simultaneously delivers a full measure of luxury. It was a pleasure to spend a short time with this aspirational machine.

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Disclosure:

Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.

Our focus is on vehicles that offer the best fuel economy in their class, which leads us to emphasize electric cars, plug-in hybrids, hybrids and diesels. We also feature those efficient gas-powered vehicles that are among the top mpg vehicles in their class. In addition, we aim to offer reviews and news on advanced technology and the alternative fuel vehicle market. We welcome any feedback from vehicle owners and are dedicated to providing a forum for alternative viewpoints. Please let us know your views at publisher@cleanfleetreport.com.