In Europe, more than 50% of all new cars sold are diesel. Diesel is catching on not just in Europe, but in the United States and South Korea as well.
In the US, nearly every major luxury car brand now offers diesel engines to its customers. The diverse offering of diesel-powered luxury cars ranges from Porsche and BMW to Mercedes-Benz and Audi. Within the next three years, the market share for diesel cars in the US is expected to more than triple, from the current 3% to 10%.
Over in South Korea, the figures are even higher. Nearly 30% of all new cars sold in Korea are now powered by diesel.
So why are many consumers switching to diesel? The answer is simple – because diesel engines are cleaner, more economical and offer better performance than their petrol-powered counterpart. While many consumers around the world are ready to acknowledge the superiority of diesel engines, much still needs to be done in educating consumers in this part of the world, where many still perceive diesel engines to belong in a lorry rather than a premium car.
Here are some common misconceptions about modern clean diesel cars:
1. Diesel cars are noisy
Today's diesel engines benefit from very sophisticated electronic control systems that are able to optimise the engine's combustion cycle. While diesel engines will still sound different from their petrol counterparts, it is safe to say that you will not be hearing any diesel clatter from inside the car, as proven by the high number of diesel-powered offerings by other luxury brands.
2. Diesel cars emit harmful particles
Since January 2011, all diesel cars sold in Europe have been equipped with a diesel particulate filter (DPF). In fact, PSA Peugeot Citroen was the first carmaker in the world to introduce DPF in 2000. The filter removes 99.9% of fine particles.
In city driving, the gases coming out of a diesel exhaust equipped with a DPF contain a lower amount of fine particles than the air entering the engine.
3. Diesel engines have poor performance
Nothing can be further from the truth. In the annual Le Mans 24 Hours race, all the winning teams are running on either diesel or diesel hybrid engines. This is because the diesel engines not only offer higher torque, which allows the cars to accelerate out of a corner faster, but they also consume less fuel – a very crucial advantage when your are competing in a non-stop 24 hours endurance race.
A diesel engine can produce up to a staggering 40% more torque than an equivalent petrol engine, while consuming up to 25% less fuel.
The only hurdle in stopping PSA Peugeot Citroen from introducing more diesel-powered models here is the lack of availability of low-sulphur diesel, which at the moment, is only limited to certain parts of Malaysia.
Over the long term, the availability of high-quality, low-sulphur diesel is expected to expand nationwide. Citroen fans can look forward to seeing diesel-powered and maybe even diesel hybrid-powered Citroens in the future.