Honda Diesel?!

I know I have been off the energy posting kick lately in lieu of my market garden, but a rainbarrel client I delivered to today actually had a biodiesel distillery in his garage so naturally we talked that up for a bit. He assured me that Honda was less than a year away from releasing their rumoured diesel line so I figured Google and I had a date this evening. Here are the results:

Apparently Honda has been selling a diesel Civic in Europe for years that gets 43 city and 55 hwgy-but the marketing dorks don’t think it will sell here because the German diesels of the 80’s flopped. Business Week had a decent, but dated, article about it last year.

That provides some history, but it turns out that you can just go to Honda’s site and read up a some on it as well. At right is their new i-DTEC engine. It is a 2nd generation 2.2 liter diesel that passes both Euro 6 and the even tougher Tier 2 EPA ratings for diesels. No specs are listed yet, but the other photos on the site show what looks to be a smart little turbo which should push the power ratings up into the 200hp/300lb-ft range-enough to power a CRV, Pilot, or (be still my heart!) an even Odyssey minivan with a bit more boost (or hybrid assist?). They are claiming that efficiency is improved-so we could be expect mileage for deisel Civics to beat the current hybrids, and CRV/Odyssey’s to get mid/high 30’s.

Honda is touting the i-DTEC in conjunction with their Honda Tourer concept, which looks like a slightly warmed over Mazda 6 wagon. That is not a bad thing as the Mazda is a prime seller and easy on the eyes. If Honda brings this state side we could be looking at a Camry Hybrid beating sedan/wagon with better power (I could tow barrels with it) and the ability to (I am conjecturing here) run on B100 with a true carbon neutral fuel print. If Honda keeps the weight an drag coefficient down, 40+mpg seems doable. This concept at the Frankfurt show was very, very polished-essentially a running prototype-my gearhead says we are looking at the 2009 model with some cosmetic changes.
Now if Honda has half a brain, it will partner their i-DTEC with their i-MA hybrid system and eck out an Insight beating Civic (65+mpg) that can run on pure B100 for essentially zero carbon emissions and reclaim their crown of King of the Hyper Milers. Put the iMA into their full line and you would find a 30% boost across the line-50mpg Accords and CRV’s, and 40+mpg Minivans and Pilots-or a 70+mpg Fit. While I am wishing, nake the whole line plug in to boot!
Sticker price on this would be very high, which is the deal breaker, but come on Honda: Give Peace a Chance!

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