EPA flexing their muscles

Matt-98AHU

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Excellent post, Matt! :)
We used to have those awful gas pump foreskins too. Thankfully they went away some time ago. I forgot about those darn things. :mad:
I often forget about them because I so seldomly fill a gas powered car. The diesels just have the old school splash guard.

I will say that they are effective, though. Gas stations around here aren't so choking with gasoline fumes as I've experienced when I go back to the Mid West to visit. But, you still do get a whiff of gas as you remove it from the filler. There's no possible way to capture all the vapors in that transitory moment.

Diesel is just all around more pleasant to deal with as a technician, too. Every time I open up a fuel system on a TSI or something, it's choking compared to ULSD.

Think I've better expressed where I'm coming from now. Wonder what Mythdoc thinks :p

I live in California and have visited and even lived in areas affected by smog from the unique topography and weather patterns here... I've got a pretty good feel for what's going on.
 

wxman

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According to a recent paper by EPA staff scientists (Wolfe et al., "Monetized health benefits attributable to mobile source emission reductions across the United States in 2025." Science of the Total Environment 650 (2019) 2490–2498), modern gasoline exhaust is about twice as damaging in terms of morbidity and mortality from primary and secondary PM2.5 than modern diesel exhaust:


Damages per Tables 1, 2, 3

On-road Diesel -

PM2.5 - 36,893 tons X $790,000/ton = $29B
NOx - 1,120,172 tons X $9,350/ton = $10.5B
SO2/SO4 - 11,980 tons X $490,000/ton = $5.9B ($45.4B total damages)

On-Road gas -

PM2.5 - 42,088 tons X $1,950,000/ton = $82B
NOx - 556,761 tons X $11,050/ton = $6.2B
SO2/SO4 - 8,238 tons X $210,000/ton = $1.7B ($90B total damages)
 

Matt-98AHU

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According to a recent paper by EPA staff scientists (Wolfe et al., "Monetized health benefits attributable to mobile source emission reductions across the United States in 2025." Science of the Total Environment 650 (2019) 2490–2498), modern gasoline exhaust is about twice as damaging in terms of morbidity and mortality from primary and secondary PM2.5 than modern diesel exhaust:


Damages per Tables 1, 2, 3

On-road Diesel -

PM2.5 - 36,893 tons X $790,000/ton = $29B
NOx - 1,120,172 tons X $9,350/ton = $10.5B
SO2/SO4 - 11,980 tons X $490,000/ton = $5.9B ($45.4B total damages)

On-Road gas -

PM2.5 - 42,088 tons X $1,950,000/ton = $82B
NOx - 556,761 tons X $11,050/ton = $6.2B
SO2/SO4 - 8,238 tons X $210,000/ton = $1.7B ($90B total damages)
Interesting on the different dollar values placed on the same type of pollutants. I wonder what that's about.
 

wxman

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It's mostly from the way the different vehicles are used. For example, >90% of long-haul trucks are inter-urban (highway), while LD gasoline vehicles tend to be used in a much higher percentage of the time in urban environments.

Nevertheless, LD diesels have lower cost/ton for primary (direct) PM2.5, although somewhat higher than HD diesel trucks.

They have developed different cost/ton estimates for 16 mobile source sectors.
 

Matt-98AHU

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Also for reference, this is mentioning the weekend effect with regards to NOx levels, NOx to VOC ratio (and gives us the specific ratio at which ozone production is maximized) and the Caldecott tunnel study.

This study seems to be largely the reasoning behind the drastic reduction in allowed NOx, and they do mention that while the vehicle fleet is in transition to the near-zero NOx output, air quality will in fact worsen until most of the older, higher NOx emitting vehicles are finally off the roads and the ratio of VOCs to NOx will become more favorable to decrease local ozone.

Of course, much to California's chagrin, the same weather patterns that make them more conducive to higher smog levels also mean cars don't rust away here, so older cars tend to be a lot longer lived in this region. They have taken a much more aggressive approach targeting diesel semis and buses likely for that reason. Personal vehicles don't have near as much impact plus it goes against the state's sensitivities towards those who might be more likely to be struggling financially to aggressively target passenger vehicles as they are commercial trucks and buses.

https://engineering.berkeley.edu/2009/03/ozone-weekend-effect

A part of me still wonders how much more reduction in VOCs could be had as well. Clearly, vapor-emitting gas engines are a significant source of these, even with vapor capture boots at gas stations and effective vapor recovery systems onboard vehicles. What if everyone drove diesels and we didn't have to worry about vapors at all! :eek: Imagine how much less CO2 we'd be emitting, too! :rolleyes:

Maybe I shouldn't eat at Del Taco so much and cut down on my own personal VOCs. :p
 

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One aspect of mobile-source emission regulations for LD on-road vehicles is that exhaust and evaporative VOC emissions are regulated separately, even with Tier 3. This in effect allows LD gasoline vehicles to emit at least 0.05 g/mi more VOC than LD diesel vehicles since evaporative VOC emissions are essentially zero for diesel fuel. That's really an unjustified regulatory benefit given to gasoline vehicles.

There are no reasons I can think of that evaporative VOC emissions shouldn't be included in the exhaust NOx+NMOG limit. I made a comment indicating such in the open comment period for Tier 3, but it was dismissed without response.

I have seen that UC Berkeley article, and the 2.4:1 VOC:NOx ratio is MUCH lower than other atmospheric chemistry studies I've seen, including EPA and what I was taught in grad-level atmospheric chemistry courses, which was 8:1 ratio that divided VOC-limited and NOx-limited regimes. I've seen one recent study that used a 10:1 ratio! Not convinced that Berkeley's ratio is the correct one at this time.
 
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Matt-98AHU

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One aspect of mobile-source emission regulations for LD on-road vehicles is that exhaust and evaporative VOC emissions are regulated separately, even with Tier 3. This in effect allows LD gasoline vehicles to emit at least 0.05 g/mi more VOC than LD diesel vehicles since evaporative VOC emissions are essentially zero for diesel fuel. That's really an unjustified regulatory benefit given to gasoline vehicles.

There are no reasons I can think of that evaporative VOC emissions shouldn't be included in the exhaust NOx+NMOG limit. I made a comment indicating such in the open comment period for Tier 3, but it was dismissed without response.

I have seen that UC Berkeley article, and the 2.4:1 VOC:NOx ratio is MUCH lower than other atmospheric chemistry studies I've seen, including EPA and what I was taught in grad-level atmospheric chemistry courses, which was 8:1 ratio that divided VOC-limited and NOx-limited regimes. I've seen one recent study that used a 10:1 ratio! Not convinced that Berkeley's ratio is the correct one at this time.
With any of those numbers, it sounds like there are many more times VOCs in the air than NOx, for whatever that's worth.

It might also not be a fixed ratio depending on other environmental variables. Since the Berkeley study was done in a tunnel, there's no sunlight and it's in a region that doesn't average temperatures near as high as L.A. does, and of course those two items play a big role in the reactions of the two compounds or at least help accelerate it.

The fact that a consensus cannot be made is further fuel to the fire that maybe the NOx issue is way overblown. Again, not excusing cheating, but coming back around to regulations coming down hard on NOx very suddenly.
 

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Agree.

Also, there's the possibility that Southern California may not be able to reach O3 NAAQS limits since it appears it has relatively high levels of biogenic/geogenic NOx emissions:

 

turbobrick240

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Fortunately, the frequency and geographic area affected by the weekend ozone effect (VOC limited regime)within the SoCal air basin has been greatly reduced over the last decade. Most of that reduction is attributed to reduced NOx emissions.


The conclusion of this paper is telling:
https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/2015GL066419
 

wxman

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Further points to consider:

- Nation-wide, NOx emissions have been reduced by 52%, and ambient NO2 levels have decreased by 49% (annual) since 2000, yet ambient O3 levels have declined by only 17%, according to EPA's own data (https://www.epa.gov/air-trends/air-quality-national-summary). VOC emissions have decreased by 19%, which correlates better with the decline in ambient O3 levels. This suggests the intensive regulatory focus on NOx emission reductions has been less effective than anticipated for ground-level ozone reductions since there are many metropolitan areas that are still in non-attainment with the ozone NAAQS, some still classified as "extreme" nonattainment, especially with the NAAQS reduction from 75 ppb to 70 ppb in 2015.

- Some area may not be able to achieve attainment with the ozone NAAQS because of high biogenic NOx emissions anyway (Oikawa, P. Y. et al. "Unusually high soil nitrogen oxide emissions influence air quality in a high-temperature agricultural region." Nat. Commun. 6:8753 doi: 10.1038/ncomms9753 (2015), http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4659929/).

A multi-year study done in Israel showed that days with virtually no anthropogenic NOx emissions (during a religious holiday - "Day of Atonment"; 83%-98% decrease in ambient levels), ozone levels INCREASED by 8 ppbv at urban core, and only decreased by 5 ppbv downwind. Nighttime ozone levels rose by 20 ppbv at urban sites and 30 ppbv downwind (Ilan Levy, "A national day with near zero emissions and its effect on primary and secondary pollutants." Atmospheric Environment, Volume 77, October 2013, Pages 202-212, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1352231013003488 (abstract)).

Another recent study openly critical of higher-than-regulated NOx emissions from diesel engines in Europe (Karl et al. "Urban eddy covariance measurements reveal significant missing NOx emissions in Central Europe." Scientific Reports, Article number: 2536 (2017), https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-02699-9) suggests that ambient NOx levels would have to decrease to ~2 ppbv before conditions transition to NOx-limited with respect to ozone formation in Innsbruck, Austria. Many areas have natural (biogenic) NOx levels at or above 2 ppbv.

- The correlation between lower ambient NOx levels and nitrate PM2.5 (nitrate aerosols) appears to be highly non-linear. The "weekend effect" mega-study (Blanchard, Tanenbaum, Lawson; "Differences between Weekday and Weekend Air Pollutant Levels in Atlanta; Baltimore; Chicago; Dallas-Fort Worth; Denver; Houston; New York; Phoenix; Washington, DC; and Surrounding Areas." Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association, Volume 58, December 2008, Pages 1598-1615, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19189758 (abstract)) showed that a nearly 50% decrease in ambient NOx levels on weekends resulted in only a 2.6% decrease in ambient nitrate aerosol concentration on average.

This has been supported by a more recent study by University of Colorado Boulder and NOAA (Womack, C. C. et al. ( 2019). "An Odd Oxygen Framework for Wintertime Ammonium Nitrate Aerosol Pollution in Urban Areas: NOx and VOC Control as Mitigation Strategies." Geophysical Research Letters, 46, https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1029/2019GL082028 (Abstract)). This study found that ambient NH4NO3 levels (a major component of wintertime ambient PM2.5) are responsive to VOC controls, but NOT responsive to NOx controls, and reducing NOx emissions may actually INCREASE ambient PM2.5 levels.

- Secondary organic aerosol (SOA) production may dramatically increase as NOx emissions are decreased according to a study by Carnegie-Mellon University - Yunliang Zhao et al. "Reducing secondary organic aerosol formation from gasoline vehicle exhaust," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, May 2017, http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2017/06/13/1620911114 . According to the "Acknowledgement" section of that paper, this study was co-funded by CARB and EPA. CARB appears to be ignoring the results of its own funded study by requesting the further dramatic decrease in NOX emissions from diesel trucks.

According to that study, changing the NMOG:NOx ratio from 4:1 to 10:1 increases SOA production by a factor of ~8 (SOA yield increased from 0.06 to 0.46 as NMOG:NOx ratio increased from 4:1 to 10:1). NOx artificially lowers SOA production from NMOG/VOC emissions. This has the potential of offsetting the expected reduction in nitrate PM (nitrate aerosols; from NOx emission reductions) with a potentially more toxic form of PM2.5 (organic aerosols; from NOx emission reductions).

- No areas in the U.S. are currently in nonattainment with the NO2 NAAQS according to EPA. The last area to be classified nonattainment with the NO2 NAAQS was Los Angeles/South Coast Air Basin, and that area was reclassified attainment (maintenance) in 1998. The current design value for that region is 33 ppb, or slightly more than half of the 53 ppb (0.053 ppm) NAAQS (https://www3.epa.gov/airquality/greenbook/ndtc.html).

EPA recently concluded that the current NAAQS values of 53 ppb (annual) and 100 ppb (1-hour) are adequate and no changes to the current NO2 NAAQS are warranted (https://www.epa.gov/no2-pollution/p...-air-quality-standards-naaqs-nitrogen-dioxide). From a public health perspective, there certainly is no urgency to further reduce ambient NO2 levels at this time.
 

Matt-98AHU

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:eek: :eek: :eek:

That's some excellent information for one to digest and add to arguments with anti-NOxers.

Thanks, wxman!
 

jerrymander

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wow its almost like dieselgate was a false flag operation to destroy the US diesel car market following the complete failure of Chrysler and GM to enter it

oh wait
 

turbobrick240

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The photochemical reactions among various pollutants in the atmosphere is very complex. Like with Ozone formation, there are two regimes for PM 2.5 formation. The bottom line is that reducing NOx emissions sufficiently will eventually(not always immediately) lead to cleaner air. Seems obvious, but it's true.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/03/190326160515.htm
 

Matt-98AHU

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The photochemical reactions among various pollutants in the atmosphere is very complex. Like with Ozone formation, there are two regimes for PM 2.5 formation. The bottom line is that reducing NOx emissions sufficiently will eventually(not always immediately) lead to cleaner air. Seems obvious, but it's true.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/03/190326160515.htm
That was the initial reaction I got as well once I understood the weekend effect and heard about the Caldecott tunnel study. There will be a period in some areas where air quality worsens despite the drop in NOx, but in theory should be temporary and once "over the hump" the air quality should improve again.

There still are days where it seems NOx is being zeroed in on while VOCs are being allowed a little bit of a pass.

But anyway, I digress. The final paragraph in your linked article seems to play well with a thought I expressed a few posts ago:

Previous research from Thornton's group has shown why winter air pollution is more resistant to emissions regulations than summer smog: because different temperatures provide seasonal conditions that send the chemistry down distinct paths.
What I said previously about there being different optimal VOC:NOx ratios for max ozone production in different studies:

It might also not be a fixed ratio depending on other environmental variables. Since the Berkeley study was done in a tunnel, there's no sunlight and it's in a region that doesn't average temperatures near as high as L.A. does, and of course those two items play a big role in the reactions of the two compounds or at least help accelerate it.
All this additional information does, though, is throw into question just how much do the regulators grasp about the situation? Feels like information overload to most, there are some trends to draw from, sure, but it's still not 100% definitive or agreed upon. And being that NOx by itself isn't harmful to breathe in the immediate sense like CO is and the fact that even with all the studies performed, there still isn't 100% agreed upon consensus, how does one expect that journalists are going to be able to cover this topic accurately, especially since they're largely not technical people. They're more information regurgitators and opinion makers than they are properly understanding of the very complex technical subject at hand.
 
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Matt-98AHU

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Perhaps, but another study suggests that NOx emissions would have to be reduced by 90% from 2008 ambient levels (at constant ambient VOC levels) in order for SoCAB to be in attainment with the O3 NAAQS.

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10962247.2015.1106991
And that's exactly what it seems regulations were targetting.

The last non tier 2 rules being 0.7 g/mi NOx, the tier 2 bin 5 rules being 0.07 g/mi NOx. Similar reductions in other segments of transportation emissions regulations.

And all the headaches for owners and technicians that came with the rapid reduction of allowed NOx in diesels.

What is wild is to think that, despite the still lingering air quality issues, that it's still monumentally improved air quality from what it was in the 70s and 80s. And with CO2 being eyeballed as the big thing to reduce for the sake of climate concerns, I guess some of us feel that with air quality averaging "good enough" that maybe diesel can be given a little bit of a pass, or at least a more progressive reduction in allowed NOx since they are an important fuel-saving and thus CO2 output reducing technology. I personally would consider it a fair trade-off.

Not that NOx reduction shouldn't be a target, but a little more common sense, progressive reduction would have been nice, especially if CO2 reduction is considered more important than already vastly improved air quality and chasing after diminishing returns towards that end.
 

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Agree [again], Matt. That is my thinking. I also feel like if they wanted to ramp up NOx reduction in diesel engines, it should have been done in a more slow, staged way, giving manufacturers time to better prove the durability of the technology so the consumers were not lambasted with it all at once. Which is what has happened.

And do not think this is something isolated to the handful (literally, in the grand scheme of things, VAG diesels are hardly a blip on the radar of US vehicle sales) of Volkswagen and Audi diesels from 2009 to 2015. This applies to EVERYTHING, of which, costs associated with the purchase and use of (maintaining certainly, but that word has largely been replaced with "repairing" as of late) all these engines.

So, all the goods and services directly or indirectly linked to the use of diesel engines in our modern world:

The trucks that move things about the country.

The agriculture industry (which is HUGE here) that grow the food we eat.

The vocational vehicles that provide things like emergency first responder services (ambulances, fire trucks, etc.).

The infrastructure related machines that build and repair things (road graders, bulldozers, cranes, skid steers, excavators, pavers, cement mixers).

The locomotives that move massive amounts of freight across the country.

The refuse trucks that keep our cities clean, the street sweepers, etc.

The mass transit buses, as well as the school buses.

Yes, many of these vehicles can be and are powered by things other than diesel, but most still are not. And the ones that DO use something else, are generally a much higher fuel consuming offering. Which, again, a cost that both gets passed on to the public/consumer/taxpayer as well as in some cases as stated above INCREASES greenhouse gases. Electrics can and are and should be embraced for some of these, but the technology is not present for its use in all applications and it may never be.

In the end, what really sucks is Volkswagen seems to be so butthurt and pouting over their misdeeds and being caught, that they've isolated the US out of what would/should/could have been a great technology offering as it matured and improved and was shown to be compliant. But instead of getting any more TDIs, we get barf-o-rific things like the Atlas :rolleyes: And their new EV lineup will be overpriced, ugly, and limited use. Which I have zero problem with them expanding their portfolio, just wish they wouldn't have severely shrunk it first. :(

It really sucks being Volkswagen's biggest fan and knowing I'll never buy another new one again.
 

kjclow

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Here I thought you'd never bought a new one! All good information, if not a little mind numbing. IMHO, the thing that needed to happen was a later change over date to allow the manufacturers time to fully test and adjust the emissions equipment. However, with the change over to ULSD and CR diesels, it seemed to be a logical solution to change it all at the same time.
 

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Here I thought you'd never bought a new one!.
1991 Jetta diesel, still have it.

Two 1995 Golfs (a his and hers :p ), sold one, traded the other in 1998 for a Jetta TDI. Wanted a 1998 Passat TDI, waited, but they never came. Settled for the Jetta. It was a good car. But when they finally did bring the B5 Passat TDI here in late 2004, I got one. Sold the Jetta to a coworker, should have kept it. He just trashed it, then wrecked it, then drove it wrecked, crashed it again. :(

*Almost* bought a new 2012 Passat, but decided not to since I really didn't want to part ways with my 2004, and didn't *need* it. Now I wish I had. Because I'd still have it, and one of the few (since mine would have had three pedals).
 

oilhammer

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Interesting technology being pioneered by John Deere (and others) in the agriculture industry: diesel electric tractors. While not "new", it is quickly becoming the wave of the future. Which looks promising.

The idea is essentially what locomotives have been employing for some time, using a big diesel engine that operates in a narrow RPM band to turn a generator to produce electricity which is in turn used to work electric motors that provide the actual traction effort for movement. This was originally done because there was no logical way to make a conventional transmission to attach the engine's crankshaft to the drive wheels and allow for a nice easy well controlled application of torque from stand still to full speed. Electric motors are excellent for this.

But it also makes the engine management easier to program, since it needn't run at as great of an RPM range and its load changes are less abrupt, giving the systems time to keep everything in check.

In the case of farm equipment, this also means that any PTO type items can now be run also by high torque low maintenance electric motors instead of some sort of direct mechanical attachment to a transmission or with hydraulics. It also means the many-geared transmissions are going away too.

They are also experimenting with fully electric tractors, but I suspect the use for these will be quite limited for some time. But I did see one design that was innovative, they set up a field with a "row" design that was a single row that doubled back and forth, with a cable system above it, that allowed a tractor to be powered by twin overhead lines and they moved in one continuous direction following the pattern, with onboard batteries as a supplement for making turns in places that were too tight to make proper contact with the system. Looked like a nightmare of poles and wires in the fields, though. :eek:
 

IndigoBlueWagon

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I still think it would be great to have a diesel engine hybrid with a Chevy Volt-like propulsion system, perhaps with even smaller batteries than the Volt. The engine could run at peak efficiency and let the electric motors provide motive power.
 

oilhammer

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Remember that one year an NAIAS where MB had that diesel hybrid E-class displayed? Wonder what became of that. Looked to be the OM651 engine coupled to a Bosch hybrid system. Probably pricey, but probably impressive fuel economy on both city and highway driving.
 

turbobrick240

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Ag tractors seem like a great application for massive, quick change battery packs. They consume tremendous amounts of energy/fuel though, so diesel-electric makes a lot of sense. It's crazy how automated with GPS and such the big new Ag tractors are. Electric propulsion would dovetail in well with that tech, I imagine.
 

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Remember that one year an NAIAS where MB had that diesel hybrid E-class displayed? Wonder what became of that. Looked to be the OM651 engine coupled to a Bosch hybrid system. Probably pricey, but probably impressive fuel economy on both city and highway driving.
I do. I thought I had a photo of it, but I can't find it. That was nice.
 

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Speaking of the electric / diesel powertrain - why couldn't you run the over the road semi the same way as freight trains ? Same plusses / minuses, except there are far more trucks than railroad locomotives.


Only real problem I can see with it is space for both the electric motor and the prime mover generator / fuel for it.
 

IndigoBlueWagon

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I suspect that modern trucks' engine management systems and transmissions are efficient enough that there would be little benefit. Not worth the added complexity, I bet. And since they demand high power output for long periods of time, the engines would be running at peak power anyway.
 

oilhammer

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Speaking of the electric / diesel powertrain - why couldn't you run the over the road semi the same way as freight trains ? Same plusses / minuses, except there are far more trucks than railroad locomotives.


Only real problem I can see with it is space for both the electric motor and the prime mover generator / fuel for it.
Discussing that in another thread, and it has been tried back in the '80s and early '90s. I think it is best suited for yard lot transfer trucks, as OTR trucks typically cruise at a higher speed and the modern transmissions they use (mostly automated manuals) are pretty efficient at keeping the engine in the sweet spot.
 

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Speaking of the electric / diesel powertrain - why couldn't you run the over the road semi the same way as freight trains ? Same plusses / minuses, except there are far more trucks than railroad locomotives.
This is one of the operating modes of my ELR... the resulting fuel economy isn't fantastic. Upper 30s / low 40s.

-J
 

kjclow

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I still think it would be great to have a diesel engine hybrid with a Chevy Volt-like propulsion system, perhaps with even smaller batteries than the Volt. The engine could run at peak efficiency and let the electric motors provide motive power.
Isn't that the idea behind the VW 1 liter project? Electric engine charged by a small diesel engine.
 
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