Diesel engines have improved so much over the past two decades that they have become so popular. They were no longer the slow and noisy smokers, but with the usual train technology, now peppy and fuel-efficient.
Although they are more expensive to buy, they also take advantage of lower prices. Of course, these lower prices are due to lower taxes, because clean low-sulfur diesel now costs more than petrol at refineries.
Diesel engines have been blamed for global pollution, which has resulted in carmakers worldwide resigning to abandon diesel engines.
The Minister of Road Transport and Highways recently announced that India will skip the Bharat Stage (BS) and jump from the current BS-IV to the BS-VI standards from April 1, 2020.
This has moved all Indian automakers because the expected cost of engine upgrades to meet these new regulations will make them unacceptably expensive.
High-compression diesel engines cost more to manufacture, and this cost is also increased when high-pressure Common Rail fuel injection systems are introduced to increase engine efficiency.
Now turbochargers, particulate filters, catalytic converters, NOX loops, and many other engine modifications are required. Therefore, a large difference in the prices of a typical petrol and diesel-powered model makes the latter more expensive.
It is no surprise that Maruti Suzuki has publicly announced that it will discontinue diesel engines from April 1, 2020, and all other car manufacturers will follow suit.
The huge difference between diesel and petrol prices is the main reason for the popularity of diesel engines. However, this price gap has been declining rapidly over the past few years and is likely to fall further.
If there is no cost-benefit in fuel prices, there is no reason to buy an expensive diesel-engine car. However, diesel is required for large fleets of diesel-engine cars, including trucks, tractors and pump sets.
Europe, the world’s largest diesel car market, is also feeling the pinch. Diesel engine cars accounted for 42 percent of German car sales in 2017, although the price of diesel is slightly higher than petrol. But, because diesel is 20 percent more efficient, diesel cars offer more kilometers per liter. Strong sentiments on pollution reduced their numbers to 36 percent a year later.
Volvo has completely stopped selling diesel cars. Toyota stopped selling diesel models in Europe last year. Porsche says it will focus on petrol, electric and hybrid engines. Renault, Peugeot, Citroen, Fiat-Chrysler, Cadillac, Suzuki, Kia, Mitsubishi, Bentley, and others have switched to petrol.
All carmakers can see the writing on the wall and focus their energy on electric or hybrid patrol cars. Automakers are also working on CNG or LPG, although they are less polluting, they are still fossil fuels, which leave a carbon footprint. Many automakers also support hydrogen cars, but they require a network of fuel stations. That is why almost all car companies are investing heavily in electric car technologies.
Compared to the nearly 20,000 parts of the internal combustion engine’s power train, the electric car motor has just 20 and is much smaller, lighter and cheaper to make than the high cost of the battery pack. But, it is also gradually decreasing