Right now as I speak the US automakers are stumbling all over themselves to come up with a plan of action which will allow them to get $25 billion dollars in aid from Congress. One of the requirements, before they fork over the cash, is for the automakers to produce an action plan in regards to how the money will be spent and insure they will not be in this same dire position down the road. It’s believed that their focus will shift toward cutting existing lines and producing more fuel efficient vehicles and that may mean bringing a hybrid diesel electric to the US market.
The technology is not new, rather it’s been used for years in the train industry, dating back as far as the 1920’s. Today VW is leading the way with hybrid diesel electric engineering and using the technology in their VW Golf. The hybrid VW is capable of getting up to 70 miles per gallon, but will not be distributed in the United States. According to VW the technology would be too expensive to build and bring into the US, thus creating a potential market for domestic manufacturers.
Another hurdle US automanufacturers are faced with is the longevity of their current vehicles on the market. More people are holding onto their existing cars for longer and even more are buying used, rather than new. For example, it’s easier to buy used diesel vehicles and let someone else take a bath in the depreciation after driving off the lot.
I believe serious thought needs to be put into engineering a quality hybrid diesel electric car for the domestic market. The need for more fuel efficient cars isn’t going anywhere and if the automakers hope to pull themselves out of their gas guzzling hole then something needs to change. The current trend of cornering the large SUV and Truck market is obviously failing as a business model and 70 mpg is an appealing buy for anyone looking to purchase a new vehicle.