Dan Kapp, the director of Ford’s Powertrain Research, said that the automaker is producing turbodiesel-powered cars in Europe but there are no plans to offer them in the U.S. in the near future.
Kapp sat down with Ward’s for an interview after he spoke at the Center for Automotive Research’s Management Briefing Seminars. Ford is currently only offering diesels in the U.S. on its heavy-duty F-Series pickups. Kapp said that he wants diesels to be a solution “but it’s a tough economic challenge.”
The cost of a vehicle goes up by 10% to 15% when turbodiesels are used. In addition, diesel fuel is priced about $0.20 higher than regular gasoline. Kapp wants to know if U.S. customers are willing to pay more for a diesel version and if diesels could be an alternative to electric vehicles.
Kapp said that if the U.S. market demands for a diesel then it may offer it. It was recently announced by General Motors that there will be a turbodiesel option on the Chevrolet Cruze subcompact.
The Cruze is in a heated competition with the Ford Focus turbodiesel in Europe. Kapp said that technology will determine if it will be able to meet the proposed federal fuel-economy standard of 54.5 mpg (4.3 L/100 km) by 2025. The other factor that has to be studied is the added price to car buyers.
Kapp believes that the first thing that has to be considered when evaluating the outlook for powertrains is the improvement to the efficiency of internal- combustion engines.
Among the solutions that he cited is Ford’s EcoBoost technology, which is offered on 13 models, including the optional V-6 on the F-150 pickup line that’s powered by V-8s traditionally.