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March 12, 2018   |   Future Fuel Strategies


The Future of Diesel: Fact v. Fiction, Part 2

While the potential for electrification of commercial trucks has recently captured interest, thanks to announcements from Cummins, Tesla and Nikola, the quick call as being the “death knell” for heavy-duty diesel is unfounded. Aspirations and predictions for new fuels and technologies are high, but must be evaluated in the context of reality.

Diesel engines are today and will remain in the future the prime mover for this key sector of the global economy. Diesel powers well over 90 percent of all commercial trucks on the road in America today. In 2017, the North American Class 3-8 truck market came in at more than 250,000 vehicles. Of that population, approximately 30 percent of trucks are powered by the newest generation of clean diesel technology. In the off-road sector, diesel engines continue to power manufacturing, agriculture and construction projects around the globe.

The diesel engine has achieved this dominance over many decades and challenges from many other fuel types because it offers a unique combination of unmatched features: proven fuel efficiency, economical operation, power, reliability, durability, availability, easy access to fueling and service facilities, and now near-zero emissions performance. It is unmatched by any other powertrain option in this sector.

Allen Schaeffer is Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum.

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