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General Motors will re-introduce mid-size trucks to the North American market in 2015, and when they do, a small diesel engine is a likely option.
Quite possibly, according to remarks by Volkswagen of Canada’s Media Relations Manager, Thomas Tetzlaff.
Despite some of the lineup having off-road capability, Volkswagens in North America rarely sport off-road tires.
The same isn’t true in Europe where the German automaker sells its Amarok pickup truck which has serious off-road prowess. VW chose the 2012 Geneva Auto Show to debut its Amarok Canyon concept, which is a beefed up version of the pickup.
It sits on Mickey Thompson all-terrain tires and a 1.6-inch lifted suspension that give the truck a total 3.4 inches of extra ground clearance over the standard model. Tough-looking 18-inch wheels painted “Adamantium Dark” add further to the truck’s muscular appearance.
Other accenting features add more to that theme, like the tubular roll bar that runs along the bed and over the cab.
Unlike American pickups, the Amarok drivetrain is influenced by European sensibility with a 180-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder twin-turbo-diesel instead of the large engines most North American trucks of similar size have.
The bed is small but functional, with lots of tie-down handles available for securing goods. Realistically, the Amarok Canyon isn’t meant for the same construction site work horse life of an F-150 or the like. It’s crew cab setup and shorter-than-average short box are more designed for ferrying passengers between kayaking trips, which is probably why the concept shown above had that equipment in the bed.
In keeping with the European mentality, the Amarok is available with a six speed manual. That might throw most American truck buyers a curve ball, but it doesn’t matter because this truck isn’t meant for the U.S. market. The Amarok Canyon is still a concept but a more practically oriented version may be available as early as this summer to Europeans.
GALLERY: Volkswagen Amarok Canyon concept
At the recent North American International Auto Show, Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, during a round table discussion, said that the tools to bring a light duty Ram diesel pickup to market are there, it’s just a question if there’s enough demand for it.
“We can do it all,” he said. “We have the engines, the know-how, because as you well know, Fiat is the repository of a huge amount of diesel know-how because of our industrial applications and even on the passenger car side. We’d love to do it, but the question is, will it sell?”
Marchionne also referred to the fact that several Chrysler vehicles, including the Jeep Wrangler and Grand Cherokee have long been offered with diesel engines in Europe, but in North America, the reception at best has been lukewarm, previous attempts to offer diesels in Jeep SUVs proving shortlived.
We’ve reported before that Cummins, which builds the straight-six turbo diesel available in the Ram Heavy Duty has developed a V8 diesel for use in 1/2 ton trucks and a version of this could be adapted for the Ram 1500, no doubt enhancing the truck’s towing and payload capability, but again, it all hinges on demand.
Given that light trucks now come under the same CAFE umbrella as passenger cars, it will probably be legislation that eventually drives demand for light duty diesel pickups. In Europe, largely due to taxation reasons, diesels are now the norm in passenger cars, their combination of torque output and fuel efficiency hard to beat. This contrasts with a generation ago, when they still represented less than half the market.
It’ll also be interesting to see if Ford and GM further pursue diesels for their light-duty pickups, previous plans have so far been put on hold.
[Source: Pickup trucks.com]
There was once a time when pickups were essentially utilitarian vehicles. However, during the 1980s and 1990s, half-ton full-size rigs became increasingly laden with creature comforts, leather bucket seats, center consoles, power everything and serious in car entertainment. Now the concept of luxury truck is expanding upmarket, with General Motors recently launching a luxury GMC Denali as part of the Sierra Heavy-Duty line from 2011.
Now GMC has announced that the Denali HD will be available in both 3/4 (2500) and 1-ton (3500) versions. Both 2WD and 4WD drivelines will be offered with a choice of regular (6 foot, 6-inch) and long (8-foot) boxes, plus the option of single or dual rear wheels on 3500 models. Exterior colors will be limited to Black, Stealth Gray and White, though 17, 18 and 20-inch wheels will be offered.
Standard engine in the HD Denali is GM’s 6.0-liter V8, coupled with a six-speed automatic transmission, the updated 6.6-liter Duramax diesel, rated at 397-hp and a staggering 765 lb-ft of torque will be optional. Like the rest of the Sierra Heavy-Duty line, the Denali trucks will be covered by GM’s 100,000-mile, five-year powertrain warranty.
According to GMC product marketing director Lisa Hutchinson; “we received such an overwhelming response to the new Sierra Denali 2500HD, that we worked quickly and decided to extend the model into the 3500HD series so those GMC buyers can also benefit from blending capability with premium features and styling.” No word yet on whether four-wheel steering will be offered.
Back in 1892, after almost 20 years developing a more efficient version of Karl Otto’s four-stroke internal combustion engine, Dr. Rudolf Diesel, patented his design for the Combustion Power Engine, in which air is compressed to the point that the heat generated allows it to ignite without the need for spark. Thanks to its efficiency and incredible torque capacity, the diesel engine has become a mainstay in larger pickups, over-the-road trucks, heavy equipment and many European private vehicles. However, today; 118 years after Dr. Diesel patented his design, another Rudolf has created, what is perhaps the next step in the evolution of Diesel’s original engine concept.
Dr. Rudolf Gunnerman, has created GDiesel, a new fuel for diesel engines that combines conventional ultra low sulfur diesel with natural gas, which is mostly methane.
Dr. Gunnerman’s company, Advanced Refining Concepts, blends ultralow sulfur diesel and natural gas at a 2-1 ratio — a gallon of diesel in relation to a half-gallon of natural gas — using a proprietary set of four metallic catalysts. This blending process allows the diesel to absorb the methane’s component atoms, hydrogen and carbon, resulting in a chemical reaction that makes it more combustible than conventional diesel fuel.
Dubbed GDiesel, Gunnerman’s fuel is said to yield up to a 30 percent improvement in fuel economy. It’s also compatible with existing fuel storage and dispensing equipment and requires no modifications to vehicles or power-generating equipment.
ARC is in the final stages building a refining facility in Nevada that will be able to produce up to 100,000 gallons of GDiesel a day. In the future, smaller GDiesel refineries may be built near ready supplies of natural gas and methane, such as by a garbage dump or large farm, where methane can be harvested as a waste product.
Dr. Rudolf Diesel originally envisioned his engines would be able to run on vegetable oil, but modern feedstock fuels have been unpopular because they use valuable land for harvesting crops and generally aren’t available in large enough volumes to permit competitive prices against current supplies of diesel or gasoline. But because Dr. Gunnerman’s GDiesel, doesn’t have an impact food supplies (like say Ethanol), doesn’t require any changes in infrastructure and is able to be used in existing diesel engines without modification, perhaps the U.S. has found a really workable solution for powering vehicles in the future. So while some may say that history doesn’t repeat itself; when it comes to diesel technology and a pair of doctors named Rudolf, it appears to come darned close.
New engine has reversed cylinder heads and a sequential variable turbine geometry turbo
Ford is set to release a revolutionary new 6.7-liter Power Stroke turbo-diesel engine for its line of Super Duty F-Series trucks in 2011. The all-new engine promises a, “significant improvement in torque, horsepower and fuel economy,” says Ford in a press release, stating that this new F-Series Super Duty would continue to be a class leader in both payload and towing.
Numerous high-tech innovations have been employed in building this new engine, starting with a compacted graphite iron (CGI) engine block that Ford says is twice as strong as standard iron blocks. This was deemed necessary due to the increases in power output.
The new engine makes use of a Honeywell single variable turbine turbo (similar to the one found on the Porsche 911 Turbo), but takes turbo technology a step further still. Instead of one, there are two compressor wheels driven off a single turbine impeller, working like a bi-turbo setup that gives the engine a fast response time with little lag as well as the power of a larger turbo.
Visually, the new engine looks remarkably different, due to the fact that the intake and exhaust systems are the reverse of a conventional engine. The exhaust manifolds sit in the valley of the big V8 engine, while the intake manifold is on the outside. This means the cylinder heads are essentially flipped around.
By significantly reducing the amount of exhaust piping, lag is reduced considerably. Additionally, this new packaging moves the hotter elements of the engine (like the turbocharger and exhaust pipes) away from the intake areas, ensuring a constant supply of cool air to the engine. And as for that turbo, it sits in the valley between the cylinder banks. Due to its location, spool up is considerably faster and the engine’s overall balance is improved. Another major benefit of this setup is that that cab no longer has to be removed from the frame if work needs to be done on the turbo. The fuel-pump, EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) components and the thermostats are also easily accessible from the front of the vehicle.
Ford hasn’t released any specifics on the new engine but if out scientific and sophisticated brains have understood all this talk of a sequential variable turbine geometry turbo correctly, our power-loving neanderthal brains are in for a real treat when this new package makes it to market.
GALLERY: 2011 Ford Super Duty Power Stroke 6.7-Liter V8
Official release after the jump: