IM­PORT DIESELS

WHAT’S THE HOLD UP???

Ultimate Diesel Builder's Guide - - Urbg News -

We’ve been wait­ing on the diesel-engine prod­ucts from Mazda and Hyundai for months. Now we can share some news from each com­pany, as well as ex­plain the hold-up. It’s all about CARB, EPA and re­vised test­ing method­ol­ogy. Both man­u­fac­tur­ers are wait­ing for fed­eral clear­ance. As we pre­dicted, Hyundai will fit a diesel into the Santafe CUV. We were a teensy bit off on power out­put. Their 2.2L CRDI tur­bod­iesel engine has 190 horse­power at 3,800 rpm and 322 lb-ft of torque at 1,750-2,500 rpm, es­ti­mated, ac­cord­ing to Hyundai. Mazda only says they’ll have more to say this fall.

We spoke to sev­eral Hyundai ex­ecs about the diesel-pow­ered Santa Fe test­ing at CARB. Our source at the Hyundai Tech­ni­cal Cen­ter in Yp­si­lanti, Michi­gan, told us that be­cause of all the re­cent as­ser­tions about cheat­ing on diesel emis­sions, ev­ery man­u­fac­turer’s meth­ods, soft­ware and en­gi­neer­ing are un­der in­tense scru­tiny. “We [at Hyundai] are com­pletely open about our engine and emis­sions strate­gies,” he said.

We also spoke to Mike O’brien, vice pres­i­dent of prod­uct plan­ning at Hyundai. He told us that the new Santa Fe with the diesel op­tion will be avail­able to­ward the end of the year, will have the best avail­able tow rat­ing, and will be among cat­e­gory lead­ers in fuel econ­omy. “If it were to­day it would lead,” O’brien told us. “The diesel [engine] will ac­cel­er­ate bet­ter than the base engine, tow more, and have bet­ter fuel econ­omy. It will be our most ca­pa­ble CUV.”

Ac­cord­ing to O’brien, pow­er­train emis­sions test­ing has fun­da­men­tally changed. “Nowa­days, be­cause of elec­tronic con­trols, as well as re­cent his­tory, Agen­cies want to know op­er­a­tional strate­gies,” he said. “They want to know code, emis­sions strat­egy, how the sys­tems are in­ter­act­ing. Not just how it does in the lab and on the road, but un­der other con­di­tions. This has ex­tended the test and cer­ti­fi­ca­tion cy­cle for all man­u­fac­tur­ers; no­body is treated dif­fer­ently. And it ap­plies to gas en­gines as well.

“If you’re a car com­pany de­vel­op­ing a new ve­hi­cle, there are hun­dreds of si­mul­ta­ne­ous pro­cesses. Man­u­fac­tur­ers will have to change ca­dence to in­ter­cept the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion process ear­lier. A few years ago it was pos­si­ble to take an engine out of a ve­hi­cle and place it into an- other ve­hi­cle and do a ‘pa­per cert.’ That’s not pos­si­ble any longer.

“If we could let plant work­ers sit around and read mag­a­zines for a few months, it wouldn’t be a prob­lem. The ques­tion is, how do you make those si­mul­ta­ne­ous tasks reach their con­clu­sion at the same time—the start of pro­duc­tion? Now we have to ad­just, go through cer­ti­fi­ca­tion ear­lier so we can have an on-time prod­uct launch.”

Where the prob­lem for all man­u­fac­tur­ers lies is in the de­ci­sions fed­eral agen­cies make. For in­stance, GM may see engine con­trols dif­fer­ently than FCA, Ford or Hyundai. And CARB may “sug­gest” what is in their opin­ion the best prac­tice for emis­sion con­trols on a diesel or gas engine. This is, in our opin­ion, highly ques­tion­able.

Hyundai prom­ises the most com­pe­tent Santafe CUV will be the one equipped with a 2.2L diesel. It will have bet­ter fuel econ­omy and greater tow­ing ca­pac­ity. With 322 lb-ft, it’s not a torque mon­ster, but it will surely move a small camper, small boat trailer, or recre­ational ve­hi­cle trailer with ease.

We as­sume Mazda’s SKY­AC­TIV-D engine will fit into the CX-9 CUV, and that we’ll learn more in the early fall. Un­til then, all we know is that it will dis­place 2.2 liters (a pop­u­lar size for this ve­hi­cle class) and prom­ises bet­ter ac­cel­er­a­tion and fuel econ­omy than the gaso­line engine, also avail­able in CX-9

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