Until very recently, the only diesel cars for sale domestically have been German in origin, and have commanded a price premium over standard fuel offerings. Honda has decided to change that with their Accord Tourer Concept car powered by the i-DTEC diesel engine.
The 2.2 liter diesel engine is destined to reach US shores in 2009. Offering 30 percent better fuel economy than current Honda gasoline-powered engines, the i-DTEC power plant will not be limited to the Accord but will also likely debut in the CR-V sport utility vehicle and the Odyssey minivan.
The engine will produce 150 horsepower and 260 pound feet of torque and has a redline of about 4500 rpm, making it an effective people mover. Not only is it a good performer, but it also represents the cutting edge of emissions-reduction technologies.
Using a special combination of engine timing, exhaust gas recirculation and aggressive catalytic converters, the i-DTEC engine will have emissions that fall well below the strict US standards for nitrogen oxide and other pollutants.
The catalytic converter uses a special 2 layer structure that allows it to convert nitrogen oxide into ammonia and then use that ammonia to further transform any remaining nitrogen oxide into pure nitrogen.
While this commitment to low emissions is commendable, can Honda convince American buyers that the days of the smoking, diesel powered tractor-trailer are over? Honda has invested a significant amount of technology into cleaning up diesel’s exhaust, and the next step will be cleaning up its image.
Given that a high performance version of this engine is slated to be installed in the Honda Civic SI sometime in 2010, it looks as though buyers may be won over to a fresh outlook on an old technology.