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December 5, 2006

Diesel's Greener Claim with BLUETEC Brand Name

2007_mercedes_benz_e320_bluetec.jpgThe diesel engine brand name “BLUETEC” will now be officially registered and shared between German automakers Audi, DaimlerChrysler and VW. Read about it here. This news has got me thinking about the name “diesel.”

In an article on the Diesel Technology Forum entitled Has Diesel Grown in the United States, it is reported that in Europe, 50% of car sales are diesels. In the U.S., sales are small but will be growing thanks to recent EPA legislation.

New calls for cleaner diesel technology and a rising concern over gas prices have breathed new life into diesel, but as a US Mercedes Benz engineer points out on the post “the diesel name is damaged” thanks to the smoky, non starting, slow diesel cars of the Reagan era.

Those cars are a thing of the past, and upcoming models offered by Audi, Honda and VW are getting rave reviews. There’s now even a diesel motorcycle for sale.

Enter the new generation of names for a new generation of diesel vehicles: BLUETEC.

BLUETEC is a brand name that completely distances itself from the d-word. Another hybrid, greener name is Biodiesel, a biodegradable diesel alternative that Julia Roberts was promoting on Oprah. PetroSun has a BioFuels division that makes biodiesel out of algae, and Georgia has a means of using soy.

At least one trucking company, Blue Sky, has added equity to its brand name by being the first to offer biodiesel trucks - shippers who choose them are choosing the green option. And because Blue Sky brews its own fuel, they get it for 70 cents per gallon. Of course, the fuel is not called biodiesel. It's called B100, which stands for “100% biodiesel.”

I suppose any name with the word “diesel” in it is going to be phased out as technology progresses. But it should be noted that even a much abused name like diesel is better than what biodiesel fuel usually is: used vegetable grease.

By the way, it seems BMW might have something up their sleeve. According to Leftlane News, BMW is opposed to using the BLUETEC brand name that Chrysler/Mercedes and Volkswagen/Audi are using, and has not yet given a timeframe for an entry into the diesel vehicle market.

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Posted by William Lozito at December 5, 2006 10:03 AM
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