The Little Engine That Could
Honda develops “superclean” diesel engine for passenger cars
Honda Motor Co. is aiming to clean up diesel’s dirty image with a new diesel engine for passenger cars that runs as cleanly as the most advanced gasoline-powered engines. In 2009, the company plans to start selling a sedan, probably a Honda Accord, powered by its new “superclean,” four-cylinder diesel system; the car will be the first diesel model to meet strict air-quality standards that will come into effect in California in 2009. Diesel engines get about 30 percent better fuel economy than gasoline cars, but Americans have long avoided them because of their dirty emissions — a problem Honda says it’s now solved. Honda is also working on a six-cylinder diesel system for use in larger vehicles like SUVs. And the company has just unveiled a small, light, and powerful fuel-cell electric system that it plans to use in a hydrogen-powered, fuel-cell electric sports car that will go on sale in 2008.