Volkswagen’s Big Plans for TDI Clean Diesel Technology

Last August TDI clean diesel technology was introduced to the U.S. by German automaker Volkswagen AG. Clean diesel technology reduces the dirty, black emissions typically associated with diesel by 95%. Volkswagen says that the old days of black tailpipe smoke are gone.

At the Washington Auto Show, VW will be promoting its fuel efficient, clean diesel approach as an alternative to traditional gas powered engines. On exhibit will be the Jetta TDI Sport Wagon that averages 30 mpg city and 41 mpg highway and the Touareg V6TDI, which they say is one of the cleanest, most fuel efficient SUVs available. Also showing in Washington is the BlueSport concept car, which is a diesel roadster that averages 55 mpg.

Chairman of Volkswagen Martin Winterkorn says of the BlueSport, “Minimum consumption and maximum fun to drive.” The car first debuted at the Detroit Auto Show in December.

With new fuel economy standards coming from legislators, many car companies have added diesel to their lineups just to keep up. Diesel is more expensive at the pump, but the extra cost is far outweighed by the excellent mileage—up to 20-40 mpg more than traditional gasoline, according to Diesel Technology Forum.

Diesel has never really dominated the industry in the United States as it has in Europe due to high tailpipe emissions. Newer more advanced engine technology has solved that problem, and diesel is becoming more and more popular throughout North America.

Green Car Journal named the Jetta TDI Green Car of the Year in 2009, highlighting the success VW has had in marketing the technology in the U.S. Last year VW-owned Audi showcased clean diesel TDI cars during a 4,800 mile, coast-to-coast marathon, during which one of the vehicles was able to achieve 50 mpg.

The president and CEO of Volkswagen of America, Stefan Jacoby, was the keynote speaker at the Washington Auto Show this week.

U.S. headquarters for VW moved to Herndon, Virginia from the suburbs of Detroit last year. The relocation cost $100 million and created 400 jobs in Fairfax County, with more jobs expected if the company reaches the goal of selling 1 million VWs and Audis in the next 18 years.

Jacoby said the move was designed to take the company closer to customers. General Motors, Ford and Chrysler dominate in Detroit.

A new plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee was also invested in by VW for $1 billion. There, the company will produce its mid-sized sedans for sale in the U.S. and create 9,500 jobs. Volkswagen estimates that 30% of the vehicles manufactured at the new plant will be engineered with TDI clean diesel technology.

Winterkorn said, “You know, people keep asking me, ‘Why are you investing $1 billion in a U.S. plant now, of all times?’ My answer is simple and clear: The automobile will always be an essential part of the American way of life.”

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